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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - April 21, 2014

Don't forget to check out CruisePage.com, the Internet's largest cruise database. With over 11,000 cruise itineraries and over 300 ship profiles, CruisePage.com is the perfect tool to help you find and book the perfect cruise.

Carnival Sunshine Sails on Inaugural Caribbean Voyage from Port Canaveral
To commemorate the inaugural Caribbean departure of Port Canaveral's newest ship, the totally transformed Carnival Sunshine, Space Coast residents gathered this weekend in nearby Jetty Park to wave streamers and spell out "BON VOYAGE" as the ship sailed past.

TCarnival Sunshine Sails on Inaugural Caribbean Voyage from Port CanaveralThe 3,006-passenger Carnival Sunshine – which underwent a massive $155 million makeover that added all of the line's Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, as well as 182 new staterooms – operates year-round five- to eight-day voyages from Port Canaveral visiting tropical destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida.

Innovations on Carnival Sunshine include WaterWorks featuring a 334-foot-long Twister slide – the longest in the Carnival fleet – along with a stunning three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat, Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, and SportSquare, an outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course, mini-golf, basketball court and more.

Carnival Sunshine builds upon the line's leadership position at Port Canaveral.  Carnival Sunshine, combined with Carnival Sensation, and Carnival Liberty which launches service next month, will result in 600,000 passengers annually sailing on Carnival ships from Port Canaveral – more than any cruise operator.  Carnival's three Port Canaveral-based ships will operate 200 three- to eight-day voyages a year.

Princess Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Mexico Sailing
To cap a year of 50th anniversary activities, Princess Cruises, which celebrates the five decade mark in 2015, has created a special Mexico itinerary departing on December 3, 2015 – exactly 50 years to the day that the line's original ship, Princess Patricia, set sail on the company's very first cruise in 1965.

The lines original ship, Princess Patricia, set sail on the company's very first cruise in 1965Offered on the intimate Pacific Princess, next year's unique sailing is the same length as the company's first cruise – 14 days – and will include a blend of ports from the maiden itinerary such as Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Manzanillo, with some newer destinations such as La Paz and Loreto.

Guests on the cruise will be treated to an array of activities and entertainment commemorating half a century of cruising by the famous line, and will also be joined by some surprise guests.

This anniversary sailing on Pacific Princess, which carries 670 guests, is available for sale on May 13 and fares start at $1,699 per person, double occupancy.

"This nostalgic cruise to Mexico will be the perfect finale to what's sure to be a special 50th anniversary year for Princess," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "For this significant milestone we couldn't resist recreating, with some new touches, the very first cruise our company operated. And because the name Pacific Princess is so integral to our company's history, we wanted to offer the cruise aboard the current ship with this iconic name."

One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Nearly 50 years later, the line has grown to become the third largest cruise line in the world and a recognized leader in taking travelers to some of the most fascinating places around the globe.

Holland America Line Launches ‘Dive-In at the Terrace Grill'
Holland America Line is enhancing the Terrace Grill on its 15 premium ships and rebranding the popular lunch spot as "Dive-In at the Terrace Grill." The outdoor bistro-style grill area by the ships' Lido pool will feature new signature burgers, hot dogs and fries.

All of the signature burgers are hand-formed, freshly made beef patties featuring Holland America Line's secret Dive-In SauceThe first ships to open the new gourmet grill were ms Eurodam, ms Amsterdam and ms Maasdam. The remaining ships in the fleet will be opening Dive-In at the Terrace Grill throughout summer 2014. The areas will be decorated with new Dive-In signage and décor.

"We're always listening to our guests and travel partners for ideas to evolve the dining experience on our ships with new concepts, and the Dive-In is an exciting enhancement to our culinary offerings," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs for Holland America Line. "For a casual meal, Dive-In offers a delicious choice with a gourmet twist."

All of the signature burgers are hand-formed, freshly made beef patties featuring Holland America Line's secret Dive-In Sauce, chop-chop lettuce and sliced tomato on a toasted brioche bun in addition to other accoutrements. Guests can choose from burgers such as The Gainer, which is served with a mound of crispy frizzled onions; The Cannonball with Gouda cheese, applewood smoked bacon and sweet caramelized onions; and The High-Dive with cheddar cheese. Guests in the mood for chicken can choose The Back Flip chicken breast burger topped with guacamole and all the burger dressings, while vegetarians can sample The Freestyle, a vegetarian burger with grilled portabella mushroom topped with melting Gouda and cheddar cheeses, avocado and Dive-In sauce.

"I applaud the creativity and skills of our culinary team to come up with a tasty menu that could be a stand-alone bistro grill on land," said Michael Smith, senior vice president, marine hotel operations for Holland America Line. "It's been a fantastic hit with our guests so far and we know it will continue to be very popular."

Signature hot dogs feature Nathan's Famous all beef dogs, all served with Dive-In Sauce in a poppy-seed bun. The Dive-In Dog is topped with American-style mustard and a mound of crispy frizzled onions; The Dog Paddle is topped with sauerkraut, crispy bacon bits and German mustard, while The Dunkin' Dog is topped with melty cheese sauce, pickled jalapenos and chopped red onions.

No hamburger or hot dog would be complete without Dive-In French Fries, and guests can order them three ways: traditional, topped with Dive-In Sauce or smothered in melty cheese sauce.

The existing Taco Bar will continue to be available with the Dive-In at the Terrace Grill. Guests make their own taco with handmade tortillas or hard taco shells and a selection of popular condiments and fillings including chicken, beef and pork.

Royal Caribbean Announces 2015-16 Itineraries from New York, Galveston
Royal Caribbean International today announced its 2015-16 year-round sailings from the New York-metropolitan area and Galveston, Texas, and seasonal sailings from Tampa and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Still ranked among the world's largest and most innovative cruise ships, Liberty of the Seas will homeport at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. for summer 2015 and offer vacationers the most advanced cruise options to sail from the New York-metropolitan area to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Canada and New England. Simultaneously, Navigator of the Seas will continue to sail seven-night Western Caribbean cruises throughout summer 2015 and complete two consecutive years of homeporting at Galveston.

In winter 2015-16, Anthem of the Seas will arrive at Cape Liberty for its first season in North AmericaIn winter 2015-16, Anthem of the Seas will arrive at Cape Liberty for its first season in North America – after finishing its inaugural season in Southampton, U.K. – and offer vacationers unforgettable Quantum-class experiences to the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean. At the same time, Liberty of the Seas will take over weekly Caribbean sailings from Galveston, offering Texas vacationers a newer and larger ship, while Navigator of the Seas will sail six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. Furthermore, Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa in winter 2015-16 to offer a variety of Caribbean itineraries that all combine to provide extensive choices for exciting Royal Caribbean cruise vacations throughout 2015 to 2016.

Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas' 2015-16 cruise seasons are now open for booking. Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members have the exclusive privilege to book Anthem of the Seas' winter 2015-16 season starting April 25, 2014, in advance of the general opening to the public on April 29.

New York is among the world's top cosmopolitan cities where Royal Caribbean is deploying its most technologically advanced ships. Throughout the 2015 summer and autumn seasons, Liberty of the Seas will homeport at Cape Liberty and offer the best family cruise vacation option in the region. The Freedom-class ship will be the cruise line's newest and largest ship to offer cruises to Bermuda from the New York-metropolitan area. Liberty of the Seas will alternate a five-night, roundtrip Bermuda itinerary with a nine-night Caribbean itinerary in the summer, and then with a nine-night New England and Canada itinerary throughout the autumn season.

"The Bermuda Tourism Authority is delighted at the news that Royal Caribbean International's Liberty of the Seas will be making visits to Bermuda for the 2015 summer season," said Bill Hanbury, CEO, Bermuda Tourism Authority. "Royal Caribbean is an extremely valued partner to Bermuda and is considered a leader in the global cruise market. This latest announcement is a welcome endorsement of Royal Caribbean's continued commitment to Bermuda and its tourism industry."

For its winter 2015-16 season, Anthem of the Seas will set sail on October 27 for an eight-night Ocean Voyage from Southampton to Cape Liberty and continue Quantum Class cruising for New York-area vacationers. The ship will sail a range of seven- to 12-night roundtrip itineraries and take guests to the Bahamas and throughout the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean. The 12-night Western Caribbean itinerary is brand new, featuring maiden calls for the Quantum Class at George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras.

"The New York-metropolitan area is a very important market for us," said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We are committed to bringing our most advanced ships to this region and delivering our distinctive style of high-quality vacations to our loyal customers, as well as win new converts to cruising. Sailing Anthem of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas from New York fits the bill perfectly."

Having just been revitalized in January 2014, Navigator of the Seas offers vacationers the most innovative and modern cruise experience to sail from the Lone Star StateHaving just been revitalized in January 2014, Navigator of the Seas offers vacationers the most innovative and modern cruise experience to sail from the Lone Star State. Navigator of the Seas will continue weekly sailings from Galveston until November 2015, when Liberty of the Seas repositions there to offer Texans a larger and more advanced cruise ship for unforgettable vacations. Both ships will alternate a pair of seven-night roundtrip itineraries to the Western Caribbean.

Vacationers also have a range of the industry's most advanced ships for a variety of Caribbean itineraries, sailing from convenient Florida ports during the 2015-16 winter season. Completing two full years of homeporting in Galveston, Navigator of the Seas will reposition to Fort Lauderdale in November 2015 and sail six-night Eastern and eight-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

For its part, Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa for their third and second consecutive winter seasons, respectively. Brilliance of the Seas will offer vacationers four- and five-night Western Caribbean itineraries, while Vision of the Seas will sail seven-, nine-, and 10-night itineraries throughout the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry "firsts" never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world's most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted "Best Cruise Line Overall" for 11 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

Princess Cruises Unveils 2015 Japan Cruise Program
Demonstrating a continuing commitment to developing the Japan cruise market, Carnival Corporation & plc has announced the 2015 Japan cruise program for Princess Cruises which features Diamond Princess returning for the line's third season, and introduces new cruises as short as three nights to appeal for those local travelers seeking a quick getaway.

Beginning next April, the Japanese-built Diamond Princess will once again offer an exciting season sailing from the two home ports of Tokyo (Yokohama) and KobeBeginning next April, the Japanese-built Diamond Princess will once again offer an exciting season sailing from the two home ports of Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe. During the four-month summer season the ship will offer 20 departures on a mix of itineraries visiting more than 20 destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Russia. The mix of itineraries is designed to have broad appeal, with cruises as short as three nights and up to 17 nights for guests seeking a more in-depth experience in Japan.

"We are very pleased to bring Diamond Princess back to Japan again next summer, this time with a broader variety of itineraries and cruise lengths offering guests a diverse choice of experiences and destinations," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "In addition to offering local consumers a shorter cruise experience, our longer sailings will offer an enriching and convenient way to explore many of Japan's most fascinating port cities."

Swartz added that Sun Princess will not be returning to Japan next summer as it will instead be deployed to Australia where it has long been a popular ship based in the region. "Moving Sun Princess to Australia in 2015 doesn't diminish our enthusiasm for the Japan cruise market. As demand for cruising grows further in Japan, we will review the opportunity to add additional capacity in the future."

Diamond Princess will begin the 2015 season on April 29 in Yokohama with an eight-night Golden Week itinerary and a nine-night Taiwan & Korea sailing. The ship will then position to Kobe for a series of three cruises of Princess' popular eight-night Ryukyu Islands & Taiwan voyages that include calls to Okinawa, Hualien, Kaohsiung and Taipei (Keelung). New for 2015 from Kobe is a 10-night Hokkaido cruise that includes appealing northern destinations of Aomori, Hakodate, Otaru and Abashiri.

Diamond Princess will return to Yokohama to spend the balance of the summer sailing north to the island of Hokkaido or around Japan, visiting culturally rich destinations such as Maizuru (for Kyoto), Nagasaki and Aomori. A special feature of the Hokkaido voyages is the late evening departure from Hakodate, which is famous for the nighttime view from the top of Mt. Hakodate, as well as the morning fish market.

Also new for the 2015 season, which runs through mid-September, are three-, four-, five- and seven-night itineraries designed to appeal to those with limited vacation time. Throughout the summer Diamond Princess will sail on a four-night Korea Getaway roundtrip from Kobe, plus a five-night Korea & Japan Getaway roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and a five-night Korea & Japan Getaway that positions between the two homeports. In August, the ship will sail on a week-long itinerary roundtrip from Yokohama which can be segmented into a three-night Korea Getaway disembarking in Hakata, or a four-night Korea & Japan itinerary embarking in Hakata.

The experience onboard Diamond Princess in Japan will substantially be the same as that offered by Princess Cruises around the world, providing an impressive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line's signature innovations such as its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat. However as done during the first two Japan seasons, some changes and enhancements will be made to appeal to the local market. The just-completed refurbishment of Diamond Princess added Izumi Japanese bath – the largest of its kind at sea – as well as a Kai Sushi restaurant.

Dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine, while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, and a la carte sushi bar will be opened. Other amenities such as the spa treatments will also be tailored to Japanese preferences, and onboard collateral items and stateroom information will be translated into Japanese.

An extensive array of shore excursions will be available to complement the itineraries including opportunities to visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Diamond Princess was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan – the first of two Princess ships built in Japan.

Carnival Inreoduces New Marine-Themed ‘Camp Ocean' Children's Program
Carnival Cruise Lines, the leader in family cruising, today unveiled Camp Ocean – an exciting, new marine-themed children's program coming to its fleet of 24 "Fun Ships." Set to debut on Carnival Freedom on May 24, the expansive new program will immerse children ages 2-11 in the wonders of the sea through fun, engaging and educational experiences.  More than 200 new ocean-inspired activities will range from educational games such as Sea Creature Discovery, Marine Life Trivia, Under the Sea Mad Libs and Ocean Artifacts Memory Tray to creative arts opportunities such as Design Your Own Aquarium, Make Your Own Sailboat, Sea Salt Art, and Create a Penguin from Oreos.

Carnival Inreoduces New Marine-Themed ‘Camp Ocean' Children's ProgramCamp Ocean, which will replace the line's existing Camp Carnival program, will welcome youngsters in with light blue and white underwater colored spaces and friendly, experienced staff.  Three age-related categories will each have their own identity: children ages 2-5 will be dubbed "Penguins," with those ages 6-8 called "Sting Rays" while 9-11 year olds will be "Sharks."

Distinctive areas and activities have been custom-created for each of the new age designations – from miniature play igloos for the Penguins to interactive gaming stations for the Sharks. On Carnival Freedom, which begins a multi-million dollar refurbishment tomorrow, and Carnival Vista, which debuts in 2016, a new purpose-built Camp Ocean play area will include Party Reef, a common shared space that brings each of the groups together, as well as Creative Cove, a breakout room for arts and crafts activities.

"While our current children's program consistently gets very high marks, we've challenged ourselves to exceed expectations with a truly dynamic and diverse program for our youngest guests," said Mark Tamis, Carnival's senior vice president of guest operations. "With our new highly tailored age groupings and themed activities connected to the oceans and their fascinating underwater habitats, we're excited to invite kids to Camp Ocean to have an extra special and memorable Carnival vacation experience."

Camp Ocean also provides travel agents with an exceptional family-friendly feature to market to their clients with children, he noted.

 Introduction of Carnival Play Panel

In developing the new Camp Ocean program, the company convened a Carnival Play Panel comprised of experts in child education, media and play to develop and curate the more than 200 new activities to resonate with today's children and to continually review and guide updates to the children's programming. The panel includes:

  • Toni Linder, professor emeritus at the University of Denver who consults on child development and education for young children both nationally and internationally and also serves as graduate coordinator at the College of Education at the University of Denver specializing in child engagement and education.
  • George Arthur Bloom, who has more than 20 years of experience in children's media and programming including writing for longtime favorites such as Magic School Bus, My Little Pony and the original Transformers TV series.
  • Matt Brown, recognized expert in play who has been vice president of LeapFrog and senior vice president of Scholastic, is an advisor for PBS Kids, and currently works as chief gaming officer of Conteneo.
  • Chris Byrne, a30-plus-year veteran of the toy industry and current partner in aNb Media LLC who also serves as content director forTTPM.com.
  • April Norris, loyal Carnival Cruise Lines guest and mother of two who serves as a trusted advisor to the brand.

The new Camp Ocean activities span across 11 key categories of play, including the core themes of active play, games, free play, arts and crafts and digital, coupled with additional categories such as role play, music, party time, science and discovery, social and food fun, all designed to find the ideal combination of activities catering to children's varied interests.

New Badge Challenge

Carnival will also introduce a Badge Challenge as part of Camp Ocean, which will provide the opportunity for kids to earn and collect badges as a special memento of their cruise.  Badge challenges will include a variety of unique activities that provide an original way for kids to learn about their vessel, experience onboard adventures and gain a sense of accomplishment. After completing tasks which may include trying a new food, making an aquatic towel animal or riding the water slide, children will collect corresponding Camp Ocean badges.

Continued Leader in Family Cruising

The new Camp Ocean program builds upon Carnival's leadership position in family cruising with more than 700,000 kids expected to sail on Carnival ships in 2014. Another recently announced enhancement to the line's children's programming is a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to introduce the family-focused Seuss at Sea, with youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences inspired by the amazing world and words of Dr. Seuss.

Carnival's popular programs for tweens and teens, Circle C (for 12-14 year olds) and Club O2 (for 15-17 year olds) will continue across the fleet.

Rollout of Camp Ocean will begin aboard Carnival Freedom in May 2014 following a major refurbishment which will also include the line's first Dr. Seuss Bookville interactive reading venue. Camp Ocean will be introduced on Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Triumph later this year with the balance of the fleet implemented by 2016, including Carnival Vista which is set to debut in early 2016.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 37.23 + 2.06%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 51.03 - 0.02%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.00 - 0.66%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 30.30 + 1.30%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which shipping line was the first to have a three-ship transatlantic service in operation, and what was the name of the third ship to join the first two?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - The Furness-Bermuda lines was the only passanger/cruise ship to sail with one, two and three funnels during her long career. She was built in the early thirties as a three funneled liner. During WWII she served as a troopship with only two funnels. After the war she returned to service as a three funnel ship. In the early sixties she was refitted and came out as a single funnel liner. This made her look similar to her more modern sistership the Ocean Monarch.
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald


Cruise News - April 14, 2014

NCL Cancels Roatan Stops After Murder Of Crew Member
NCL Cancels Roatan Stops After Murder Of Crew MemberNorwegian Cruise Line announced this week that is cancelling calls to Roatan this week after a crew member from Norwegian Pearl was killed last Sunday night, April 6, 2014 while ashore in Roatan.

According to local police reports, the crew member was killed during an attempted robbery while in Roatan. Local officials are investigating and have the alleged suspect in custody.

In a post on its Facebook page Norwegian Cruise Line said that it is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of a crew member from Norwegian Pearl in Roatan. The cruise line said that in an abundance of caution for their guests and crew, that they have cancelled calls to Roatan this week for Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Jewel.

In addition to NCL, Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Regent Seven Seas all have ships scheduled to visit the island this week but none of these cruise lines have announced any changes to their schedules or plans to stop calling at Roatan.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Promotes Adam Goldstein to President and COO
Adam Goldstein has been named president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSLO: RCL), the company announced today.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Promotes Adam Goldstein to President and COOGoldstein, a 25-year company veteran, had spent the previous 12 years as president and CEO of the company's largest cruise line, Royal Caribbean International.

"Adam has played a key role in growing Royal Caribbean International, step by step, into a global leader. In the course of doing so, he has become an impressive leader in his own right," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "In this new role, Adam will be able to put his broad worldview and strategic insights to use leading our varied cross-functional teams."

As well as working with Fain on the company's strategic direction, Goldstein's portfolio will include Human Resources, Information Technology, Supply Chain, Corporate Communications, Safety & Environment, Government Relations, Guest Port Operations and Commercial Development. "We believe that it's important for our brands to have their own personalities and business plans," Fain said. "But it's also important to pursue best practices, and to make sure that the insights we learn within individual lines can be applied to the entire company's benefit. When we do that, we are a stronger business," Fain said.

Goldstein said he was looking forward to the challenge.

"Royal Caribbean was a five-ship company when I arrived here, and today we are many times larger than that," Goldstein said. "We now have more than 60,000 employees taking our guests to every continent of the world, as well as the most technologically advanced ships at sea. The opportunity we have is to take even greater advantage of our global scale and knowledge, while delivering the guest satisfaction that helped us grow to where we are today."

Goldstein begins his new responsibilities immediately, Fain said. A search for a new leader for the Royal Caribbean International line is underway. In the meantime, Goldstein will assist with transition while he also takes up his new responsibilities.

"Today's announcement underscores the strength and stability of our company and its depth of leadership talent," Fain said. "We believe our strategy of appealing to vacationers around the world, matched with our commitment to innovation, safety and sensible growth, positions us well for the future. I am pleased to have Adam bring his skills to bear on bringing this strategy to life."

Goldstein joined the company in 1988, and served in a number of positions before taking the helm of Royal Caribbean International, including Senior Vice President, Total Guest Satisfaction; Senior Vice President, Marketing; and Corporate Secretary to the company's Board of Directors.

Goldstein is a member of the Washington-based Energy Security Leadership Council. He served on the board of the Travel Industry Association of America (now the U.S. Travel Association) from 1993 to 2012, and is a member of the advisory board for Our Kids, which is engaged in foster care and related services for Florida youth.

Goldstein graduated with honors from Princeton University. He also has a law degree from Harvard University and an MBA with distinction from the French business school INSEAD. Goldstein and his wife have two children and live in Coral Gables, FL.

British Food Producers Showcased P&O's Britannia
When Britain's biggest cruise ship launches next March it will showcase some of the finest artisan food and drink producers from the UK in a celebration of great British products.

British Food Producers Showcased P&O's BritanniaBritannia, the largest ship to be built exclusively for British passengers, will offer a sophisticated, contemporary holiday experience across health and beauty, shopping and entertainment with a strong focus on dining.

P&O Cruises marketing director Christopher Edgington said: "Traditionally people thought cruise ship food was all about quantity. On Britannia and on the rest of our fleet it is all about quality. Our mantra at the moment is "think differently" – particularly where it applies to the quality of food, variety, ingredients used and the expertise we have called upon to deliver this."

The company has introduced a Food Heroes concept with some of the biggest talent in the British culinary scene. These include James Martin, Eric Lanlard, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar and wine expert Olly Smith. There will also be other yet to be announced experts in the areas below who will ensure that P&O Cruises delivers "the best of the best from the best".

• Market Café featuring Eric Lanlard - a continental-style café/deli in the heart of the atrium, offering savoury bites, ice cream in grown up flavours (examples include mojito; pomegranate, orange & campari or walnut, celery & honey as well as perennial favourites) and the finest cakes and pastries by master pâtissier Eric Lanlard. There will also be charcuterie from some of Britain's finest artisan producers including smoked lamb, smoked venison and air dried meats. Eric will also be producing a premium seasonal Champagne afternoon tea served in the fine dining restaurant. Think Persian candy floss, lychee pearls and Earl Grey perfume, without a scone in sight.

• British chocolatiers – a menu of hot chocolate and cacao creations in the Market Café from leading British chocolatiers who will also be on board periodically for masterclasses in the art of bean to bar creations and giving expert tips on tempering and cooking with chocolate in both sweet and savoury dishes.

• British artisan cheeses - calling upon a renowned cheese specialist, there will be a showcase of award-winning cheeses from all corners of the UK and Europe in the Market Café as well as cheese and wine tastings in the Cookery Club with Olly Smith.

• The Great British G&T Menu - what could be more British than G&T? Britannia will be the only ship to offer a full menu of British artisan gin producers and the finest gins from around the world in The Blue Bar. There will be customized cocktails, gin tasting sessions, gin flights similar to the wine flights in The Glass House and a range of interesting mixers.

• The Great British Beer Menu – featuring over 70 ales, beers and ciders from every corner of Britain to create a beer map of the UK. These will be available in Brodie's bar.

• Epicurean restaurant – this speciality fine dining restaurant will be the place to go for a stunning, contemporary menu of molecular cooking, home smoking, ingredients with real provenance and even flaming jellies!

Britannia will also have The Cookery Club with James Martin, a dedicated cookery school with 24 stations for creating culinary masterpieces with the experts themselves as well as regular guest chefs.

In the Glass House, Olly Smith will be selecting a brand new range of around 40 wines to enjoy by the glass including new labels from Japan, Greece and Croatia. There will also be a new menu of small plates such as sea bass ceviche with lime, main courses such as a Wagu beef burger, Morecombe Bay & Devon crab sliders and lobster buns as well as a selection of great British pies and sharing puddings.

Edgington continued: "Through the strength of our food and cooking experiences Britannia will appeal to a whole new group of people who have never before considered cruising as a holiday option. These are indeed exciting times."

Don't forget to check out CruisePage.com, the Internet's largest cruise database. With over 11,000 cruise itineraries and over 300 ship profiles, CruisePage.com is the perfect tool to help you find and book the perfect cruise.

Carnival LIVE Concert Series Debuts

The official launch of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series kicked off last week with sold-out performances by world-renowned rock band Styx. Fans packed the show lounges on Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Fascination for an intimate, captivating live performance that brought audiences to their feet.  Check out the video recapping the debut of Carnival LIVE featuring Styx.

Carnival LIVE Concert Series kicked off last week with sold-out performances by world-renowned rock band StyxThe Carnival LIVE Concert Series offers guests sailing on select Carnival Cruise Lines ships the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at a port of call. Carnival has booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series with the following artists:

  • 38 Special
  • Chicago
  • Daughtry
  • Foreigner
  • Gavin DeGraw
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Jewel
  • Kansas
  • Lady Antebellum
  • LeAnn Rimes
  • Martina McBride
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • REO Speedwagon
  • STYX
  • Trace Adkins

Commented Tommy Shaw, guitarist for Styx, "All I know is our boats were rockin'. We had a great time and it looked like our fans loved it, too. Can't wait to do it again in the fall in Nassau and then in Catalina Island and Cozumel."

Added Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations for Carnival Cruise Lines, "Carnival strives to provide an unforgettable vacation experience for our guests and this unique opportunity to enjoy a favorite band up close and personal in such an exciting and intimate setting is truly awesome.  What an amazing way to relive memories through music and even better to create new ones with family and friends."

Performances are scheduled on board eight Carnival ships that call in the following ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Catalina Island, California. Artists join the ship while in port, perform in the main show lounge that evening, and debark following their show.

Tickets cost $20-40 each and a limited number of VIP tickets are also available for each show for $100-$150 each. The VIP experience includes an artist meet and greet, complimentary photo with the band, seating in the first three rows and a commemorative laminated concert pass. All tickets can be purchased through Carnival's online shore excursion system prior to sailing, or on board participating ships at the shore excursion desk based on availability.

Carnival Dream, Sails On Inaugural Cruise From Big Easy

New Orleans' largest year-round cruise ship, the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, will depart on its inaugural six-day cruise from New Orleans this afternoon, further solidifying Carnival's distinction of the port's largest cruise operator with two ships carrying more than 400,000 passengers annually – the most of any cruise line.

Carnival Dream, Sails On Inaugural Cruise From Big EasyThe special six-day voyage, visiting Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), and Cozumel, will depart from the newly refurbished Erato Street Cruise Terminal, which has undergone a $2.3 million upgrade to accommodate a ship as large as the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream.

Beginning April 20, Carnival Dream will launch year-round seven-day service from New Orleans offering three distinctly different itineraries – western Caribbean cruises visiting Montego Bay, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman; or Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize and Cozumel; and a Bahamas/Florida route calling at Key West, Freeport and Nassau.  Carnival Dream joins Carnival Elation which sails year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico.

A study by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found that spending by Carnival and other cruise operators in Louisiana topped $399 million in 2012, generating 7,548 jobs and $294 million in personal income. CLIA also ranked New Orleans the sixth largest cruise port in the U.S.

The 1,004-foot-long Carnival Dream offers a host of on-board innovations, including WaterWorks featuring a 303-foot-long Twister water slide – among the longest at sea – as well as a luxurious 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a half-mile outdoor promenade with whirlpools that extend out over the ship's sides, and more than two dozen bars, restaurants and lounges, including the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Also featured is a Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez with nearly two dozen family-friendly and adult-oriented comedy shows per voyage. Carnival Dream also offers fun, supervised activities for children in three age groups and later this year will add Seuss at Sea, part of a fleetwide partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises featuring exciting youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences inspired by the amazing world of Dr. Seuss.

Carnival Dream also includes a stunning indoor/outdoor café/live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza as well as the Seaside Theatre, a 270-square-foot LED screen displaying concerts, sporting events and nightly Dive-In Movies.

A variety of spacious accommodations are also available, with dozens of suites and a wide selection of balcony staterooms, including unique cove balconies located closer to the water offering outstanding sea views. There are also ocean view staterooms with a full bath plus separate wash room and five-berth staterooms that are ideal for families.

"New Orleans is one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Dream provides vacationers with a spectacular ‘Fun Ship' cruise option from the Big Easy offering an incredible array of on-board innovations," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO.  "Further, the arrival of Carnival Dream significantly expands our capacity in New Orleans, which is a direct result of the combined efforts of port and local officials and our valued travel agent partners who have been instrumental in supporting our New Orleans cruise program," he added.

Commented Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange, “The arrival of the Carnival Dream is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a strong commitment by Port of New Orleans officials, tourism leaders and Carnival Cruise Lines to build strong cruising demand from the Crescent City. The ship’s amenities and features are second to none. We’re thrilled to welcome the Carnival Dream as a year-round resident of the Port and City of New Orleans.”

Oasis of the Seas to Feature Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS
Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship will be bringing the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of CATS to the high seas. Based on T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS was one of the longest running productions on Broadway and is the winner of numerous awards including seven Tonys, two Oliviers and a Grammy. The show has been seen in over 20 countries and translated into more than 10 languages. The fully licensed production of CATS will join Oasis of the Seas once it completes its drydock in fall 2014.

Oasis of the Seas to Feature Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS"We are thrilled to be workingwith The Really Useful Group to bring one of the world's most beloved musicals to Oasis of the Seas," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Adding CATS to our already amazing line up of Broadway musicals such as Hairspray, Chicago: The Musical, Saturday Night Fever and Mamma Mia! exemplify our commitment to bringing top quality entertainment to our guests at no extra cost."

Oasis of the Seas features exclusive amenities and concepts throughout its seven themed neighborhoods, such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, the Aquatheater high-diving performance venue, and Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. Oasis of the Seas also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H20 Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others. For an extensive collection of webisodes detailing the variety of experiences aboard Oasis of the Seas, please visit http://tinyurl.com/bw585wa

Launched in December 2009, Oasis of the Seas has been heralded as an architectural marvel at sea, spanning 16 decks, encompassing 225,282 gross registered tons, and with a double-occupancy capacity of 5,400 guests. Oasis of the Seas is first ship to tout the cruise line's neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, comprising Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 36.48 - 3.18%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 51.04 - 3.26%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.02 - 0.66%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 29.91 - 4.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - The interesting feature that Canberra had that made some of the inside cabins were windows that looked out into a "court". These cabins, called "court cabins", were built in such a way that the they were staggered down the corridor and the wall of the innermost cabin jutted slightly passed that of the more outer cabin and had a window placed there - thus light from the outside would penetrate these inside cabins. They were usually 3 deep.
Timothy Edgecombe


Cruise News - April 7, 2014

Celebrity Cruises Launches New North American Advertising Campaign
Celebrity Cruises has today announced the launch of their new brand campaign ‘Remember Everything'. The new campaign, launching first in the US and Canada, is the next step in telling the modern luxury story and emphasizes what modern luxury feels like to guests.

Celebrity Cruises Launches New North American Advertising CampaignLaunching on Monday, April 7, ‘Remember Everything' will debut on national television as part of the brand's partnership with Bravo Media and will be supplemented with trade and consumer print, digital, social, and direct mail, as well as experiential events.

The campaign was created by Celebrity's in-house creative leadership team, and as a foundation storytelling element, guests' vacation experiences are brought together to show how they 'Remember Everything'. The three commercials, told from a guest's perspective, also feature a new Celebrity sound.

The insights for the campaign were gained from the brand's ongoing dialogue with guests. Research showed the importance of emotional benefits when choosing a vacation, from feeling relaxed and restored, to escaping daily responsibilities, to doing as much or as little as they want, and knowing that everyone in their travel party will be happy.

"The new campaign is centered around our guests enjoying the totality of their Celebrity experience, not just a single moment - we want them to 'Remember Everything," said Lisa Kauffman, VP Marketing, Celebrity Cruises. "Our guests are our most powerful storytellers, and we wanted to weave their stories into a narrative that sums up our modern luxury vacation experience. It could be an incredible dining experience in Qsine, the warmth of their stateroom attendant making their room a private sanctuary, a fabulous day in Tuscany, or simply connecting with their families by the pool. It's all these types of moments added together that make Celebrity special and it is the reason why our guests continue to choose us."

Explorer of the Seas To Homeport In Southampton
Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas will sail its very first Europe season in summer 2015. The cruise line's Adventure of the Seas, which was originally announced to homeport at Southampton, U.K., is being exchanged for Explorer of the Seas, which will take over three- to 16-night, roundtrip itineraries from late-April through Sept. 2015. Vacationers can choose among three- and eight-night Northern Europe itineraries, 11- to 16-night Mediterranean itineraries, or 10- to 14-night Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands itineraries. Adventure of the Seas will remain at San Juan, Puerto Rico, to sail seven-night Southern Caribbean cruises throughout the summer season.

Explorer of the Seas To Homeport In SouthamptonExplorer of the Seas will complete an extensive, month-long drydock revitalization before starting seasonal service and boast a wide range of new innovative features to offer guests an unforgettable onboard experience. Guests can test their surfing skills on a new FlowRider surf simulator; watch a film come to life in a magical 3-D Movie theatre; and sample cuisine from around the world in a new range of onboard restaurants. There will also be all-new staterooms and luxurious suites, plus new virtual balconies that bring live ocean and destination views into interior staterooms. Additional revitalization details will be unveiled at a later date.

Voyager-class Explorer of the Seas is still among the world's largest and most innovative cruise ships, featuring Royal Caribbean exclusive onboard amenities not yet matched by any other cruise line. The Voyager class of ships was the first to introduce the active cruise vacation and features the cruise line's iconic rock-climbing wall, a real ice-skating rink, a full-size basketball and sports court, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship that is flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques and where spectacular parades and evening dance parties are held.

Explorer of the Seas will be joined in the U.K. by the industry's ground-breaking Quantum-class ship Anthem of the Seas at Southampton and Radiance-class Brilliance of the Seas at Harwich, England. Only just revealed last week, the Quantum Class will introduce the new Dynamic Dining experience, offering more choice and flexibility than ever before. With Dynamic Dining, guests are empowered to decide when, where, and with whom to dine – as well as how to dress every evening – among a landscape of 18 restaurants as varied as dining in the world's most cosmopolitan cities.

"Voyage of the Damned" Commemorative Cruise Announced
On May 13, 1939, a German ship sailed out of Hamburg for Havana with 937 Jewish refugees aboard. Known as the "Voyage of the Damned" for being denied permission to dock in Cuba and subsequently being turned away from the United States and Canada, the SS St. Louis was ultimately forced to return to Europe where over 200 refugees perished at the hands of Nazis in concentration camps.

On May 13, 1939, a German ship sailed out of Hamburg for Havana with 937 Jewish refugees aboard.Today, as part of its ongoing mission to promote greater awareness and dialogue on issues of human rights, immigration and refugee policy, the SS St. Louis Legacy Project has announced it is joining with Protravel International to commemorate the tragic sequence of events that transpired 75 years ago. Through a unique educational cruise on the Crystal Serenity this November 5-19, guests will have the rare opportunity to hear directly from surviving passengers of the ill-fated 1939 voyage, as well as to see a showing of the new feature documentary film Complicit, which the SS St. Louis Legacy Project describes as "the untold story of why the Roosevelt Administration denied safe haven to Jewish Refugees." The film is an official selection of the Australian Jewish Film Festival and the Georgetown University Law School Equal Justice Film Festival.

Additionally, guests will learn about the events surrounding the SS St. Louis by renowned filmmaker Robert Krakow and producer Dr. Ruth Kalish, who will host a private cocktail reception, as well as to see a showing of the SS St. Louis Archival Exhibits, which include original documents from the U.S. State Department Archives. Guests may also participate in an interactive presentation of the critically acclaimed play, The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both the film and the play focus directly on the events that transpired 75 years ago.

"We will breathe life into history by using this unique cruise experience aboard the Crystal Serenity to trace the voyage of the SS St. Louis in a deeply respectful and meaningful way," explained Dr. Kalish. "To keep this history alive, it's essential that our efforts are brought forth in today's environment. One way to do that is by using drama to educate, but we're finding another way is to incorporate this particular commemoration into a modern cruise experience."

"Protravel is very honored to work with the SS St. Louis Legacy Project through this extraordinary event to help foster greater understanding of this tragic chapter in U.S. and world history," noted Barry Liben, CEO of Protravel International. "As a testament to our support, Protravel will be making a donation to the continuing educational efforts of the SS St. Louis Legacy Project."

On November 5, the cruise will depart New York City with an itinerary that includes Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Grand Turk, Curacao, and Aruba, prior to disembarkation in Miami on November 19. The sailing also coincides with the acclaimed Crystal Wine & Food Festival on the Crystal Serenity and features famous chefs and wine authorities, thus providing guests with unparalleled experiences.

In addition to Crystal's value-added inclusions – complimentary gratuities, concierge services for personal arrangements ashore and more – exclusive amenities for the SS St. Louis Legacy Project cruise also include an autographed DVD and poster of Complicit, and a commemorative book containing copies of the original documents and a photo album containing pictures taken aboard the SS St. Louis

Carnival Triumph To Operate Series of Voyages From Galveston

For the very first time, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering 10- and 11-day cruises between Galveston and San Juan featuring visits to six different Caribbean destinations on one itinerary.

Carnival Triumph To Operate Series of Voyages From GalvestonTwo 11-day cruises sail from Galveston to San Juan Oct. 24, 2015, and Jan. 16, 2016, and two 10-day cruises from San Juan to Galveston depart Nov. 4, 2015, and Jan. 27, 2016.

These longer-length tropical itineraries feature an array of beautiful Caribbean ports and are a first in terms of Carnival's Texas-based cruise program, which also includes year-round four-and five-day Mexico cruises and seven-day Caribbean itineraries.  A number of the ports featured on the 10- and 11-day voyages are among the most pristine, unique and less visited islands in the Caribbean. Those are combined with several of the region's most popular destinations to create highly attractive and diverse itineraries that provide the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of islands featuring gorgeous beaches, turquoise waters and endless sightseeing, shopping and water sports activities.

Also offered for the first time on a Carnival itinerary is Bonaire, which is featured on 11-day cruises.  An island nestled in the Dutch Antilles, Bonaire is known for its brightly colored scenery and some of the best diving in the world. Other islands on these new itineraries rarely visited by Carnival ships include Antigua, Grenada and Martinique — all known for their stunning scenery and relaxing Caribbean ambiance.

The 11-day voyages on Carnival Triumph originate in Galveston and include stops at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Martinique and St. Maarten with the voyage ending in San Juan.

The 10-day San Juan-to-Galveston itinerary calls at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Antigua, Grand Turk, and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

With non-repeating ports on the two different itineraries, guests looking to take an even longer Carnival getaway can book back-to-back cruises and take a memorable three-week voyage roundtrip from Galveston that visits all of these magnificent destinations.

Holland America Announces South America Cruise Season
From fall 2014 through spring 2015, Holland America Line will offer the most comprehensive South America deployment of the season with four ships positioned in the region. The line's ms Statendam, ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam and ms Zaandam will sail 20 voyages around the continent ranging in length from 14 to 68 days.

With departures from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; San Diego, Calif.; and Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as sailings originating within South America, the four ships will explore more than 50 exotic and remote ports that include breathtaking scenery and once-in-a-lifetime experiences like visiting the ruins of Machu Pichu and seeing the colossal glaciers of Chile and Antarctica.

"South America is a big draw for cruisers because it is the most diverse continent in the world with extreme climates, dramatic landscapes and fantastic touring opportunities," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs. "In addition to featuring unique experiences like attending Carnaval, seeing penguins in their natural habitat and rounding Cape Horn, the itineraries take guests to places that are best visited via cruise ship, such as Antarctica and the Amazon River."

To start the South America cruising season, Zaandam departs Vancouver Oct. 5, 2014, on a 22-day Inca Discovery cruiseThe voyages include Zaandam's full season of cruising and a 49-day port-intensive "Amazon and Carnaval Explorer" voyage aboard Maasdam that visits Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in time for the annual celebration. The 28-day "Amazon Explorer" cruise returns in November 2014 on Prinsendam, and Statendam sails month-long roundtrip San Diego itineraries in November 2014 and March 2015. The longest voyage of the season is Prinsendam's 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage that circumnavigates the continent.

To start the South America cruising season, Zaandam departs Vancouver Oct. 5, 2014, on a 22-day "Inca Discovery" cruise that takes the ship from Vancouver to Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile. The cruise also can be embarked at San Diego, making it an 18-day voyage. Guests will explore seven countries and enjoy an overnight at Callao (Lima), Peru, providing an opportunity for an overland tour to Machu Picchu.

Departing Valparaiso Oct. 27 on a "14-day South America Passage," Zaandam continues the journey around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The ship visits a variety of climates, from glaciers to tropical beaches, including an in-depth exploration of the Chilean fjords and passage through the Strait of Magellan. An overnight at Buenos Aires provides extra time to explore the local culture.

The "Inca Discovery" and "South America Passage" voyages can be combined for a 36-day "Inca Discovery and South America Passage" Collectors' Voyage.

From October 2014 to March 2015, Zaandam will sail seven 14-day "South America Passage" itineraries between Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile, and Buenos Aires. The sailings include an overnight at Buenos Aires, multiple days cruising the scenic fjords and national parks of Chile, calls at remote locations such as the Falkland Islands (weather permitting) and sailing around Cape Horn. A call at Ushuaia takes guests to the southernmost town in the world.

A 20-day "South America and Antarctica Explorer" holiday cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires on Zaandam departs Dec. 22, 2014, featuring exciting holiday activities onboard, while two 19-day voyages between Valparaiso and Buenos Aires depart Jan. 11 and 30, 2015. The extended itineraries sail farther south past Ushuaia for scenic cruising through the Antarctic Sound to the Palmer Archipelago on the northwestern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Zaandam begins the reposition back to Fort Lauderdale on a "14-day South America Passage" cruise departing March 18, 2015, from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. The ship sails a clockwise route down to Glacier Alley and around Cape Horn, with an overnight call at Buenos Aires at the end of the voyage.

An 18-day "Inca Discovery" voyage continues the journey north departing April 1 from Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale. The ship overnights at Callao (Lima) and Fuerte Amador, Panama, before transiting the famed Panama Canal.

The "Inca Discovery" and "South America Passage" voyages can be combined for a 32-day "Inca Discovery and South America Passage" Collectors' Voyage.

On Nov. 2, 2014, Statendam embarks on a 31-day roundtrip San Diego Inca Empires voyageOn Nov. 2, 2014, Statendam embarks on a 31-day roundtrip San Diego "Inca Empires" voyage that sails down to Callao and includes a partial transit of the Panama Canal. Guests will have more time in port with overnight calls at Huatulco, Mexico; Fuerte Amador, Panama; and two nights at Callao, allowing for ample time to take an overland tour to Machu Picchu. The ship also calls at ports in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and four additional ports in Mexico

A 16-day segment from San Diego to Callao is available, and a 15-day segment from Callao to San Diego departs Nov. 18, making the trip to Machu Picchu possible on both segments.

Departing March 15 on a 30-day roundtrip San Diego cruise, Statendam sails another "Inca Empires" itinerary that duplicates the November route, but without the Panama Canal partial transit. Two 15-day segments are available from San Diego to Callao and Callao to San Diego.

Guests who want to experience the excitement of Rio's Carnaval and the natural beauty of the Amazon River can embark Maasdam for a 49-day "Amazon and Carnaval Explorer Voyage," conveniently sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale Jan. 23, 2015.

The cruise will call at 25 ports, including all three of the "ABC Islands" — Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao — and an astounding 14 ports in Brazil. The ship will cross the equator three times during the voyage and venture deep into the heart of the Amazon River. Another highlight of the itinerary is Carnaval, a festive celebration often referred to as the world's largest party that coincides with an extended two-night call at Rio Feb 15-17. Extended calls at three ports — Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curaçao; and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil — as well as overnights at Rio and Manaus, Brazil, allow plenty of time ashore to enjoy historical and cultural attractions.

Shorter segments of Maasdam's "Amazon and Carnaval Explorer Voyage" are available for guests with less time. The 23-day segment departs Fort Lauderdale for Rio de Janeiro Jan. 23, and the 26-day segment departs Rio de Janeiro for Fort Lauderdale Feb. 15 and includes Amazon River cruising and a two-night call at Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 37.68 - 0.48%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 52.76 - 3.30%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.04 + 0.33%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 31.25 - 3.16%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - The ship would be the SANTA PAULA which was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Grace Line of NY. She ended her days as a hotel in Kuwait City eventually being destroyed there by the retreating Iraqis after during the Gulf War.
courtesy of Dunatov


Cruise News - March 31, 2014

Royal Caribbean Introduces Dynamic Dining
Royal Caribbean International today revealed its next vision of dining at sea which will debut onboard the much anticipated Quantum-class ships. "Dynamic Dining" is a completely new culinary experience that gives guests on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas a landscape of 18 restaurant concepts as vast and varied as dining in the world's most cosmopolitan cities. With a new take on the main dining room, guests can choose from five complimentary, full service restaurants, offering more choice and flexibility than ever before. Guests will also be in full control of their own epicurean journey via a smart, new reservations system that empowers them to decide when, where, with whom to dine, and how to dress each evening.

The Grande, a luxuriant nod to a bygone era of classic European ocean liners when dining was a time honored ritual, featuring timeless dishes, and where every night is formal night."Royal Caribbean has long offered flexible dining options, but Dynamic Dining provides a whole new level of flexibility, variety and quality. We believe our guests will especially appreciate the array of experiences, the selections of foods and extent of choices in our complimentary, full service restaurants. Our specialty dining options are a WOW, now with Dynamic Dining, we are raising the bar by also offering more choices of high quality, distinctive, complimentary restaurants than ever before – this truly changes everything for us," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "On the Quantum-class ships, guests will have the opportunity to set out on a spectacular culinary journey – with each night strikingly different from the last. This quantum leap builds upon our existing tradition of culinary excellence."

A New Main Event Each Night - Dynamic Dining reinvents the traditional, common main dining room as five complimentary, full- service restaurants, each with its own distinctive cuisine and immersive ambience that will give guests a more intimate and varied dining experience every night of their cruise. New restaurants exclusive to Royal Caribbean, each helmed by its own Chef de Cuisine, include:

• American Icon Grill, a take on the classic American road trip, pulling together best-loved regional favorites into one comfort-style menu

• Chic, where the height of contemporary cuisine is realized and the freshest ingredients, such as proteins that pack a punch and sauces made from scratch, are evolved for a modern palate

• Silk, a vibrant and exotic destination where the spices of the Far East bring new flavor to adventurous palates through a Pan-Asian menu

• The Grande, a luxuriant nod to a bygone era of classic European ocean liners when dining was a time honored ritual, featuring timeless dishes, and where every night is formal night.

• Coastal Kitchen, a concept created exclusively for suite guests, fusing Mediterranean influences with the unmatched riches of California's bountiful farmlands.

Coastal Kitchen, a concept created exclusively for suite guests, fusing Mediterranean influences with the unmatched riches of California's bountiful farmlands.Next-Level Specialty Dining - Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants have always been known for their quality, presentation and service. Now, the Quantum-class ships will surprise savvy foodists with a new, multi-sensory venue, as well as concepts from award-winning chefs, including the first-at-sea outposts of Jamie's Italian, the hugely popular restaurant from Britain's most famous chef and campaigner, Jamie Oliver.

"I'm thrilled to partner with Royal Caribbean, a brand that continually pushes the limits of what's possible, to debut my very first restaurants at sea onboard the new Quantum-class ships," said Oliver. "Royal Caribbean shares my approach to food and dining, which is to serve simple, fresh ingredients in a warm, inviting ambience. I couldn't be more excited to bring my love of Italian cooking to their guests with Jamie's Italian. It's going to be brilliant!"

Next-level signature dining options on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas include:

• Wonderland, an elaborate feast for the senses in a setting where Royal Caribbean chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes to invent a dreamscape of never-before-seen fare

• Jamie's Italian, featuring rustic Italian favorites, handmade - using seasonal ingredients and Jamie's tried-and-tested crowd pleasers

• Michael's Genuine Pub, the first American gastropub at sea and the next evolution of Royal Caribbean's relationship with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, offering simply-prepared food and drinks made with quality ingredients from the best artisanal producers

• Devinly Decadence at Solarium Bistro, Royal Caribbean's fittest dining destination, serving the foods you love all under five-hundred calories, designed by Devin Alexander, media personality, New York Times bestselling author and chef of highly-rated television show, "The Biggest Loser"

Additionally, versions of Royal Caribbean favorites, such as Chops Grille steakhouse, Izumi Japanese Cuisine and Chef's Table, will all return on the Quantum class with a revamped look and even more WOWs than before.

Laid Back Options Round the Clock - As a testament to Royal Caribbean's commitment to both quality and value, Quantum class promises an even broader choice of complimentary, come-as-you-are eateries, which include:

• Windjammer Marketplace, a Royal Caribbean dining mainstay gets a new twist on Quantum class as a global culinary pavilion that invites guests to explore the world, dish by dish through enticing food islands, interactive stations, made-to-order specialties, an on-site bakery and a 24-hour station called The Grill

• The Café @ Two70 °, a new gourmet marketplace serving savory hot-pressed sandwiches, salads made to order, handmade soups and more

• SeaPlex Dog House, the first food truck at sea offering gourmet hot dogs for all to enjoy in SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space at sea

These venues join returning casual-feel favorites including Sorrento's, Café Promenade and Johnny Rockets (cover charge applies).

Smart Reservation System - Building on a legacy of more than 40 years of innovation and creative design, Royal Caribbean has implemented a number of cutting-edge technological advancements to complement this quantum leap in its culinary offerings. This includes a new reservation system that makes it even easier for guests to make their own choices on when and where they wish to dine. Recognizing guests' desire to have everything at their fingertips, Royal Caribbean has also developed an all-new planning tool that provides guests full control and flexibility to shape their entire culinary journey prior to departure. The new planning and reservations tool will be available beginning May 15, 2014.

The new Quantum-class will debut in November 2014 with Quantum of the Seas, followed by her sister ship Anthem of the Seas in April 2015. The Quantum-class ships span 16 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. Anthem of the Seas will call Southampton, UK, home in April 2015 and offer cruises to the Mediterranean.

Disney Cruise Line Charts a New Course for Norway in 2015
In summer 2015, Disney Cruise Line is charting a magical new course for northern Europe – exploring for the first time the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Plus, Disney Cruise Line is returning to the Baltic for all-new itineraries, including sailings from Copenhagen, Denmark to St. Petersburg, Russia. Cruises to the Mediterranean, Alaska, Caribbean and Bahamas also are included in the summer lineup.

On seven and nine-night sailings departing from Copenhagen, Disney Cruise Line guests are immersed in the splendor and charm of Norway with exciting new ports, steeped in Viking history. An 11-night sailing on the Disney Magic takes guests to Iceland and the Faroe Islands for the very first time.

Disney Cruise Line Charts a New Course for Norway in 2015The Norwegian fjords served as the inspiration and backdrop for Disney's blockbuster animated film, "Frozen." Here, guests will discover breathtaking natural wonders such as magnificent mountain ranges, massive glaciers, steaming geysers and majestic fjords. The enchanting Scandinavian culture of the region comes to life through local attractions, stunning architecture, storybook villages and historic city centers.

• Seven-night Norwegian Fjords Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway Departure date: June 6

• Nine-night Norwegian Fjords Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Molde, Olden and Bergen, Norway Departure date: June 20

• 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger Norway; Akureyri and Reykjavik (overnight), Iceland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; Dover, England Departure date: June 29

On northern European cruises, the Disney Magic will sail the Baltic waters where guests will explore richly diverse cultures and national capitals including Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark and St. Petersburg – Russia's second largest city known as the country's cultural capital. These itineraries depart from Copenhagen, Denmark and Dover, England – just a quick jaunt from London.

• Seven-night Northern European Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden Departure dates: May 30, June 13

• 12-night Northern European Ports: Dover, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Warnemunde, Germany (July 10 cruise only); Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia Departure dates: July 10 and 22

The Disney Magic returns to the Mediterranean, treating guests to popular European destinations. Departing from Barcelona, Spain, these sailings take guests on an exciting journey of cultures and locales, with romantic boulevards, iconic locations, mild climates and the brilliant blue Mediterranean Sea.

• Five-night Mediterranean Ports: Barcelona, Spain; Nice (Villefranche), France; Florence (La Spezia) and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy Departure date: Aug. 10 Seven-night Mediterranean Ports: Barcelona, Spain; Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence (La Spezia), Italy; Nice (Villefranche), France Departure dates: Aug. 15, 22 and 29

Celebrity Reveals New Asia, Australia, New Zealand And Hawaii Itineraries
Celebrity Cruises has today unveiled its 2015-16 sailings to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, with over 70 destinations to choose from. With new ports of call, enticing itineraries, and more overnight stays, guests can discover new exotic places in modern luxury style. Captain's Club loyalty members have exclusive 'Priority Access' for booking the new sailings beginning today - five days before the official on-sale date, Tuesday, April 1.

Celebrity Reveals New Asia, Australia, New Zealand And Hawaii ItinerariesCelebrity Millennium will visit 43 destinations in 14 countries during the 2015-16 season, starting from September 2015. With departures from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo (Yokohama), the itineraries offer guests a wide range of options to choose from.

Vacationers can experience more of Asia for longer with overnight stays in eight different destinations: Tokyo, Japan; Kobe, Japan; Hong Kong, China; Taipei, Taiwan; Hanoi, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; and Bali, Indonesia. Plus, first-time ports for 2015-16 include Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Beppu and Kanazawa in Japan, and Vladivostok in Russia.

Highlights from the new itineraries include:
• Two 14-night roundtrip Japan sailings will have overnight stays in Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe, Japan. The ship will also visit Mt. Fuji (Shimizu), Beppu, Kanazawa, and Otaru, Japan, plus Vladivostok, Russia.
• The 14-night Singapore to Hong Kong sailings offer overnight stays in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Bangkok, and Singapore. In Hanoi, the ship will anchor in Ha Long Bay, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its scenic beauty and thousands of limestone islands and islets rising from the sea. Guests will also visit Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), and Danang/Hue (Chan May), Vietnam.
• Vacationers can enjoy three days and two nights in Bali during the Singapore to Indonesia 14-night roundtrip sailing. Plus the modern luxury ship will visit Komodo Island, home of the Komodo Dragon, as well as Phuket, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang). An exciting celebration

On January 31, 2016, a special Chinese New Year's sailing will be offered with an overnight stay in Hong Kong, China. Celebrating the Year of the Monkey, guests can experience the excitement of being in Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong, and watch a spectacular fireworks display.

Following Celebrity Millennium's season in Asia, on March 13, 2016, the ship will begin a series of exotic sailings ranging from 11 to 18 nights from Singapore, Sydney, and Honolulu, finishing in Vancouver on April 26. Guests can combine these vacations to form a 45 day voyage calling upon 17 ports, in seven countries, across three continents including Australia, Fiji, and French Polynesia. Vacationers can also enjoy overnight stays in Bali, Honolulu, and Maui.

Celebrity Solstice will sail to 34 destinations in 10 countries from September 2015 with itineraries ranging from 8t- to 18-nights to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, departing from Auckland, Sydney and Perth. The modern luxury ship will sail from Vancouver to Sydney on September 22, 2015, and offer a 10-night ‘Hawaii' and a 18-night ‘Tahitian Treasures' sailing, which guests can combine to create a 28-night vacation, visiting 11 destinations. These sailings will also be offered from Sydney departing April 9, 2016. Highlights of the trip include:
• An overnight stay in Honolulu and a late-night call in Lahaina, Maui, during the ‘Hawaii' sailing, so that guests can take part in a traditional luau. The ship will also visit destinations such as Hilo and Kona
• The ‘Tahitian Treasures' itinerary will call upon three ports in French Polynesia including Bora Bora, Moorea, and Papeete, before sailing across the Pacific to New Zealand, visiting Auckland and the Bay of Islands.

For the ultimate Australia and New Zealand experience, guests can combine an 18-night Auckland to Perth cruise, departing on February 16, 2016, with a 17-night sailing from Perth to Sydney to create a 35-night circumnavigation of Australia and New Zealand, visiting 19 destinations:
• During the 18-night sailing from Auckland to Perth, vacationers can enjoy six ports of call in New Zealand, as well as the three sounds in Fiordland National Park, and visits to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide
• The 17-night sailing from Perth to Sydney will visit Bali, Indonesia, before exploring the northern coast of Australia. The ship will then sail along the Eastern Coast visiting Cairns (Yorkey's Knob), Airlie Beach and Brisbane in Queensland. This is the perfect opportunity for guests to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

An entirely new destination, Mystery Island in Vanuatu, will be visited as part of the South Pacific sailings, with itineraries ranging from eight to 12 nights and sailing to ports in New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji.

Guests wishing to experience the breathtaking Fiordland National Park in New Zealand can choose from the 12- and 14-night vacations from Sydney and Auckland, which visit Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, New Zealand.

Celebrity's 2015-16 sailings will introduce the newly announced "Suite Class" experience, beginning April 2015, with new luxurious offerings including a dedicated, suites-only restaurant, VIP lounge, and complimentary ‘all in' benefits such as premium beverages, dining at any specialty restaurant and unlimited internet access.

Princess Announces Europe Cruise Schedules for 2015
The timeless cities of the Mediterranean, the splendor of Scandinavia and Russia plus the intriguing ports of the British Isles and the continent's northern reaches, will take center stage during Princess Cruises' 2015 Europe season.

Highlights of the just-announced season include growth in Northern Europe with the line's newest sister ships, Regal Princess and Royal Princess, both deployed in the region for cruises to Scandinavia & Russia and the British Isles. Island Princess sails in Europe for the first time on the line's Grand Mediterranean itinerary. Emerald Princess offers a fresh series of Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea voyages that can be combined, so passengers can customize their own 7-, 14-, 21-day or longer voyage. Caribbean Princess returns to Southampton for a wide range of itineraries in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, and Ocean Princess offers an intimate small-ship experience on a variety of Northern Europe routes including Iceland, Norway and the Baltic Sea.

NPrincess Announces Europe Cruise Schedules for 2015"We're especially pleased to base Royal Princess in Southampton, where she first debuted with her spectacular christening," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This will be a great year to visit Northern Europe with our newest and largest ships sailing in the region, and in the Mediterranean we're presenting passengers with a rich variety of itinerary options."

The 2015 Europe program features six ships sailing on 150 departures of 45 itineraries to more than 120 destinations:
• Regal Princess will take over the line's popular 11-day Scandinavia & Russia cruises departing from Copenhagen, featuring two days in St. Petersburg, Russia.
• Royal Princess returns to the place of her dramatic christening for a series of 12-day British Isles cruises from London (Southampton) and one departure to the Baltic Sea.
• Island Princess will sail in Europe for the first time on the line's hallmark 12-day Grand Mediterranean itinerary between Venice and Barcelona.
• Emerald Princess will also sail throughout the Mediterranean on a series of unique voyages from Barcelona, Rome, Athens and Istanbul.
• Caribbean Princess will be based from Southampton offering cruises to the Mediterranean, Norway and the Baltic.
• Small ship Ocean Princess will sail on unique voyages in Northern Europe to a variety of off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Mediterranean & the Black Sea Cruises - For the first time, Island Princess will sail in Europe, offering cruises on Princess' popular 12-day Grand Mediterranean itinerary featuring an overnight call in Venice plus visits to Barcelona, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Provence, Naples (for Capri & Pompeii), Athens, Mykonos and Istanbul. Two departures in the fall will sail between Venice and Rome (Civatavecchia).

Emerald Princess will offer a wide variety of adventures, with a series of 14-day Medley cruises covering the length and breadth of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, traveling to more than 33 destinations in 12 countries. These voyages are also available in a variety of combinations to create 21- or 28-day Collection voyages. For a shorter getaway, the sailings are also offered as seven-day departures from Athens, Barcelona, Istanbul and Rome.

For passengers sailing from Britain, Caribbean Princess will be based in Southampton to offer two-week Mediterranean Adventurer sailings featuring the best of the Western Mediterranean.

Scandinavia & Russia Cruises - Regal Princess will sail her first season in Northern Europe, replacing Royal Princess, on Princess' popular 11-day Scandinavia & Russia itinerary featuring two full days in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In addition, three unique itineraries, ranging from 11 to 14 days, on Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Caribbean Princess, and Ocean Princess will cruise to the Baltic Sea, all of which include the 2-Day Experience in St. Petersburg, Russia.

British Isles Cruises - Princess will offer more British Isles capacity in 2015, with Royal Princess returning to Southampton to sail on 12-day British Isles itineraries. Ocean Princess sails from Dover on three unique eight-day departures. Four of Princess' British Isles cruises will include the unique opportunity to see Scotland's famed Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Iceland & Norway Cruises - Caribbean Princess offers one North Cape & Summer Solstice departure in June which sails north to the Arctic Circle during the peak midnight sun period around the summer solstice. Caribbean Princess will also cross to the land of fire and ice on a Transatlantic crossing featuring Iceland. Ocean Princess explores the northern waters on a 16-day Land of the Midnight Sun departure featuring the remote island of Spitsbergen, Norway. The ship will also sail on a 14-day Iceland & Norway itinerary that visits off-the-beaten-path ports in Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Norwegian Getaway to Feature "Norwegian iConcierge" Smart Phone Application
Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week that the company's smart phone application, "Norwegian iConcierge" is now available on board the line's newest ship, Norwegian Getaway. Norwegian iConcierge has previously been activated on Norwegian Getaway's sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, as well as on Norwegian Epic, and will roll out to additional vessels in the fleet by the end of 2014.

Norwegian Getaway to Feature Norwegian iConcierge Smart Phone ApplicationIn partnership with Allin Interactive, Norwegian's exclusive application allows guests to create a highly-customized vacation experience by providing interactive access to Norwegian Getaway's onboard guest information and service systems during their cruise, via the guest wifi network onboard, based on Allin's DigiMobile? platform.

"Norwegian iConcierge app has been extremely popular among guests on Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "We are excited that those sailing on Miami's Ultimate Ship can now take advantage of all of the features included in this incredible technology."

Guests who download the free application are able to conveniently interact with Norwegian Getaway's systems from anywhere on board using their smart phone to make shore excursion, box office and dining reservations, view the ship's Freestyle Daily activity guide and review their folio activity all from the palm of their hand. In addition, Norwegian iConcierge offers guests the ability to easily find and communicate with fellow cruisers. Guests who have the application installed on their SIP capable smart phones will be able to make and send unlimited calls and messages to each other while on board for a nominal fee.

"We are very pleased to announce the activation of Norwegian iConcierge on Norwegian Getaway, which shows Norwegian Cruise Line's continued commitment to aggressively deploy innovative technology across multiple ships," stated Brian Blair, President of Allin Interactive. "We are happy that our DigiHD? ITV and DigiMobile solutions are both part of the guest-facing experience on these groundbreaking vessels, and we look forward to further deployments across Norwegian Cruise Line's fleet later this year."

The Norwegian iConcierge app also features new ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship calling capabilities using a dedicated 1-800-number. For a low per minute rate, guests can now make and receive calls while onboard via the app.

Norwegian iConcierge is a free download and available through Apple, Android and Windows7 smart phone application stores. Norwegian is the first cruise line to implement this innovative technology across multiple ships, continuing the line's history of innovation and elevating the guest experience.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 37.86 - 5.35%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 54.56 + 2.79%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.05 + 0.99%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 32.27 - 3.03%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - When she returned to service after the Falklands War in 1982, Queen Elizabeth 2 was noticeably different in appearance. What were the two changes made to the ship?

Answer - The QE2 hull colour was changed from the dark Federal Gray to a much lighter pale gray and the funnel changed from white to the traditional Cunard colours of International Orange and two black bands. At the time of this change the re-commissioning was very close to finishing and there was no time to erect full scaffolding around the funnel so the black bands were sticky tape wrapped around the funnel until they could be properly painted at a later date.
courtesy of Malcolms Sanlan


Cruise News - March 24, 2014

MSC Orders Two New Ships
MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France this week for the construction of two new cruise ships, with an option for two more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises' fleet, currently counting 12 ships, all built in the Saint-Nazaire yards. The signature took place at the Hôtel de L'Industrie, in Paris in the presence of Gianluigi Aponte, President of MSC group, Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France and Pierre Moscovici, French Minister of Economy and Finance. Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, and Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises were also in attendance.

MSC Orders Two New Ships"Growth and development have always been the characteristics that have defined MSC since the very beginning of our journey into the world of cruising. The launch of this prototype and the building of these two new ships confirm our commitment to further growth and to further development. MSC Cruises will expand its capacity by 31%: we will incredibly enrich our offer on board and we will broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand in every region" said MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago. "Once again our longstanding partnership with the STX yard has proved key for these plans".

"We are really proud of building this new generation of ships for MSC Cruises, a long-time appreciated partner. We invested a lot of R&D and design efforts to make sure that MSC Cruises' new flagship would truly be unmatched. The latest commercial negotiation was particularly challenging in the light of today's global competitive landscape in the shipbuilding industry. I would like to point out that the competitiveness agreement signed with our trade unions has been decisive to reach this LOI signature" said Laurent Castaing, STX France General Manager. The two units are due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. 1,033 feet long and 141 feet wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

"The new prototype will be the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European ship owner and the most versatile and flexible of the world: not only will it be able to call in most of the ports and destinations on earth, without compromise, but it will have extraordinary features that will make it the perfect choice at sea, in summer and in winter. The two new ships will reaffirm MSC Cruise's dedication to outstanding and genuine dining options and out-of-this-world entertainment with new panoramic spaces, a bigger theatre and a spectacular amusement park connected to an outdoor aqua park as well as a two-deck "inside promenade" explained Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.

Among the new features of the ships there will be specially designed cabins for families and an "extended" MSC Yacht Club, the entirely self-contained private club on the prestigious foredecks that will now be completed with a vast solarium, a private lounge and restaurant and duplex suites.

The new prototype is the result of a long development process, conducted in the framework of STX's ECORIZON ® programme, leading to the creation of a new generation of ships that are cleaner, more efficient and more technological. They will be water emission free, while its hull and propulsion system will be optimised for better energy efficiency. The installation of scrubbers will allow for fumes to be neutralised and CO2 emissions to be in accordance with the latest evolutions of international maritime regulations.

The contract signed is worth 16 million working hours for STX France and its subcontractors, 9 million for the prototype and 7 for the second unit. Building is due to start in spring 2015. The contract will be binding when the financial package is secured.

Carnival Corporation Reports First Quarter Results
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced non-GAAP net income of $2 million, or $0.00 diluted EPS for the first quarter of 2014 compared to non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2013 of $67 million, or $0.08 diluted EPS. For the first quarter of 2014, U.S. GAAP net loss, which included net unrealized losses on fuel derivatives of $17 million, was $15 million, or $0.02 diluted loss per share. For the first quarter of 2013, U.S. GAAP net income was $37 million, or $0.05 diluted earnings per share. Revenues for the first quarter of 2014 were $3.6 billion in line with the prior year.

Carnival Corporation Reports First Quarter ResultsCarnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted that first quarter non-GAAP earnings were better than anticipated in the company's December guidance due to better than expected ticket prices for Carnival Cruise Lines and our continental European brands, as well as the timing of certain expenses.

Donald noted, "We see progress with our continental European brands and continue to be pleased with Carnival Cruise Lines' pace of improvement. Exciting product innovations and strategic marketing initiatives at Carnival Cruise Lines have driven strong close-in demand resulting in sequential improvement in year-over-year quarterly ticket prices for the brand." During the quarter, Carnival Cruise Lines announced an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring the beloved children's brand and favorite characters to its fleet and the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, which brings the best in live music to the seas with a diverse roster of popular music artists including Jennifer Hudson, Lady Antebellum and Jewel. These brand building initiatives complement the continued roll-out of its Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, as well as ongoing travel agent outreach and the unprecedented Great Vacation Guarantee. In addition, Carnival Cruise Lines was the national cruise line advertiser of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with its creative "Bobslide" campaign which targeted the family segment and furthered the brand's new marketing campaign launched last fall.

Key metrics for the first quarter 2014 compared to first quarter 2013 and December guidance were as follows:

• On a constant dollar basis, net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") decreased 2.1 percent for 1Q 2014.

• Gross revenue yields decreased 1.9 percent in current dollars.

• Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 3.3 percent in constant dollars driven by higher advertising spend. Costs were better than December guidance, up 4.5 to 5.5 percent primarily due to the timing of certain expenses. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars were flat.

• Fuel prices declined 3.4 percent to $654 per metric ton for 1Q 2014 from $677 per metric ton in 1Q 2013 but were higher than December guidance of $643 per metric ton.

• Fuel consumption per ALBD decreased 4.8 percent in 1Q 2014 compared to the prior year.

2014 Outlook

Since January, booking volumes for the remainder of the year are running well ahead of last year at lower prices. At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of 2014 are ahead of the prior year at prices below prior year levels.

Donald noted, "We have experienced a solid wave season, with booking volumes up almost 20 percent globally surpassing last year's cumulative advance booking levels, albeit at lower prices. Many guests are booking further in advance, which increases visibility and builds confidence that yield comparisons will turn positive in the second half of 2014. Increased interest across our brands is an encouraging indication that our message is resonating as consumers recognize the strong value proposition and exceptional vacation experiences we provide."

Carnival said that it continues to expect full year 2014 net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to be down slightly compared to the prior year (in line with the prior year on a current dollar basis). Carnival said that it also continues to expect net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for full year 2014 to be slightly higher than the prior year on a constant dollar basis.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it forecasts full year 2014 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.50 to $1.70, compared to 2013 non-GAAP diluted earnings of $1.58 per share.

Looking forward, Donald stated, "We are on the path toward improved financial performance. We are working hard to maintain the momentum with additional product initiatives, continuous improvement in our already high guest satisfaction levels and greater utilization of our global scale."

Second Quarter 2014 Outlook

Second quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to decrease 3 to 4 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the second quarter are expected to be up 2.5 to 3.5 percent on a constant dollar basis compared to the prior year due primarily to higher selling and administrative costs.

Based on the above factors, Carnival said that it expects non-GAAP diluted earnings (loss) for the second quarter 2014 to be in the range of $(0.02) to $0.02 per share versus 2013 non-GAAP earnings of $0.07 per share

Crystal Announces Crystal Serenity's First-Ever Canada/New England Season
Crystal Cruises' fall Canada/New England season is one of big firsts: the first time itineraries will begin and end in French Canada's picturesque Quebec City and the first time the award-winning Crystal Serenity will be sailing the season. Also a first, the ultra-luxe line will offer complimentary transfers to/from Quebec and Montreal on embarkation and debarkation days to further expand guests' flight and sightseeing options.

Crystal Serenity plans to dock near downtown Quebec City, where Crystal Symphony has enjoyed prime views during its previous years visits.Starting September 19, 2014, Crystal will offer one seven-day and four 10-day voyages that visit some of the most beautiful and fascinating sites on North America's eastern coastline. Depending on the departure, destinations include the tranquilly-isolated Magdalen Islands; historic Boston; quaint Bar Harbor, Maine; fast-paced New York City; millionaires' getaway Newport, Rhode Island; a maiden call in Sydney, Nova Scotia; a rare visit to top-ranked small city, Portland, ME; and more.

All Crystal Canada/New England cruises include an overnight in Quebec City, renowned for its rich blend of northeastern beauty and European style and culture. Ten-day voyages also include overnights in the other city of embarkation or debarkation (i.e., Boston or New York). The season's five sailings are:

7 days:

• September 29, Quebec City round-trip

10 days:

• September 19, Boston to Quebec

• October 6, Quebec to New York

• October 16, New York to Quebec

• October 26, Quebec to New York

Other Canada/New England ports planned for the fall include Baie-Comeau, Sept-Iles, and Havre-Saint-Pierre, P.Q.; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, France (the last remnant of the former "New France" colonies), with cruising along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cabot Strait.

"For North Americans, Crystal's Canada/New England itineraries provide an easy getaway on the most highly rated mid-sized luxury ship in the world," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's executive vice president. "For international guests, these voyages offer an ideal way to learn about early American history and explore the diversity of the continent's northeast, with logistical convenience and ultra-luxury, as well."

Carnival Splendor To Operate Series Of Two- To Seven-Day Cruises From Norfolk In 2015
Carnival Splendor will operate a series of two- to seven-day voyages, including a week-long cruise to Bermuda, from the Port of Norfolk in 2015.  The 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor is the newest and largest "Fun Ship" ever to operate from the historic Virginia port.

Carnival Splendor To Operate Series Of Two- To Seven-Day Cruises From Norfolk In 2015Carnival Splendor's Norfolk program will kick off in May 2015 and will encompass a wide range of itinerary choices, including:

  • A value-packed two-day cruise departing May 16, 2015
  • Three, five-day Bahamas cruises calling at Nassau and Freeport, departing May 11, May 18, and October 12, 2015
  • A six-day Bahamas cruise calling at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, as well as Nassau and Freeport, departing October 17, 2015
  • A seven-day Bermuda cruise departing October 23, 2015 that features a three-day call in Bermuda

These voyages from Norfolk provide a wide variety of convenient and affordable cruise options featuring tropical destinations throughout The Bahamas and Bermuda where guests can relax on beautiful beaches, enjoy excellent dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities, and visit centuries-old landmarks and attractions.

Carnival Splendor will also sail seasonally in 2015 from New York and Miami.  From April to November, the ship will operate a variety of four to eight- day itineraries from New York to popular ports in The Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada and Florida.

Cruises from New York to the Canadian Maritimes include four-day voyages visiting Saint John and five-day sailings calling at Saint John and Halifax. Seven-day fall foliage voyages call at Boston, Portland, Maine; Saint John and Halifax, while three different eight-day options are available: a Bahamas/Florida itinerary calling at Port Canaveral, Fla., and Freeport and Nassau; and two eastern Caribbean routes, one featuring San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk, and another visiting Grand Turk, Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

From November 2015 through April 2016 Carnival Splendor will sail from Miami on seven-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises. Eastern Caribbean cruises will call at St Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk, and Nassau, while the western Caribbean route will call at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Mahogany Bay in Isla Roatan.

Carnival Splendor will also offer special one-way eight-day exotic eastern Caribbean cruises between New York and San Juan on May 24, 2015 and June 1, 2015.

Carnival Freedom Set For Multi-Million-Dollar Refit
Carnival Freedom will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar makeover this spring that will add the first-ever Bookville family reading venue– part of the recently launched Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises – along with a variety of dining, bar and entertainment innovations that are part of the line's Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative.

The majority of these exciting new features will be incorporated during a dry dock that will take place in Freeport, The Bahamas, from April 19 to May 3, 2014.

Carnival Freedom Set For Multi-Million-Dollar RefitFollowing the dry dock, Carnival Freedom will resume its popular six- to eight-day Caribbean schedule from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and introduce two new five-day Caribbean options, marking the first time that a Fun Ship 2.0-equipped ship will operate a short cruise itinerary from South Florida.

"With the debut of the first-ever Dr. Seuss Bookville, along with an array of exciting dining, bar and entertainment concepts, we're making a terrific 'Fun Ship' even better and creating a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories for guests of all ages," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. "Incorporating these fantastic new spaces on Carnival Freedom also provides travel agents with yet another attractive 'Fun Ship' vacation option to market to their clients," he added.

Debut of Bookville - As part of the new Seuss at Sea program, Carnival Freedom will be the first ship to feature Bookville, a dedicated Seuss-themed play space featuring iconic decor, colors, shapes and funky furniture inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. The perfect place for families to relax and unwind, guests can read beloved Dr. Seuss books or stretch their imagination through family-fun activities such as arts and crafts, toys and Dr. Seuss-inspired games.

Other Seuss at Sea activities include the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends, an interactive reading event called Seuss-a-palooza Story Time, and the Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade along the ship's promenade. Bookville and other Seuss at sea activities are scheduled to be available by the departure of May 24.

Exciting Fun Ship 2.0 Innovations - A wide range of popular Fun Ship 2.0 features will be added to Carnival Freedom this spring, as well. Here's a look at the many new offerings:

• Guy's Burger Joint, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh hand-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture

• BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas that can be personalized with a variety of salsas and toppings

• EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video game lovers' paradise where guests can catch live sporting events, check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker, and play the latest EA SPORTS games on a 16-screen video wall

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool

• Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy" that's the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who "prescribe" concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests' own custom-created cocktails

• RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside adaptation of the RedFrog Pub offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red

• Hasbro, The Game Show, where guests are part of the show through a series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the company's iconic and popular games

• Playlist Productions, which builds upon Carnival's reputation for high quality entertainment by combining captivating live performances and spectacular staging and special effects to create enthralling music revues produced by the top directors and choreographers in the industry

• Cherry on Top, which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

• RedFrog Pub, where guests can enjoy the Caribbean's best rums and beers – including, of course, Carnival's own ThirstyFrog Red – while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance (scheduled to be completed by the departure of May 18)

• The Warehouse, a family-friendly entertainment center where the young – and the young at heart – can play a wide variety of video and arcade games and win tickets that can be redeemed for fun prizes (scheduled to be completed by the departure of June 14)

Carnival Freedom's schedule from Fort Lauderdale encompasses two new five-day itineraries - one visiting Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman or Cozumel and the other calling at Grand Turk, Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

These new choices complement the ship's six-day cruises that call at Key West, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel or Ocho Rios; and three different eight-day voyages including four-port eastern and southern Caribbean departures. These unique eight-day cruises visit a variety of exciting destinations including Grand Turk, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao.

Celebrity Announces Lineup Of Chefs Setting Sail On "Top Chef At Sea"
Thirteen former chef'testants of Bravo's Emmy Award-winning series "Top Chef" will set sail on four exclusive Celebrity Cruises vacations beginning in July 2014 as part of the "Top Chef at Sea" experience. The Celebrity Cruises and Bravo partnership gives fans the opportunity to vacation with their favorite "Top Chef" alums and experience their dishes, including complimentary cooking demonstrations, interactive Quickfire Challenges and other activities. For a more exclusive experience, guests can choose to enjoy private cooking classes and events hosted by the chef'testants.

Celebrity Announces Lineup Of Chefs Setting Sail On Top Chef At SeaOn July 27, guests can set sail onboard Celebrity Summit to the charming and colorful island of Bermuda for seven nights with three culinary experts:

• Spike Mendelsohn: Top Chef Chicago and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; Co-owner and Chef at Bearnaise, We, The Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C.

• Ash Fulk: Top Chef Las Vegas contestant; Chef de Cuisine at Hill Country Barbecue Market in Brooklyn

• Angelo Sosa: Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; Chef and Owner of Añejo in NYC and Poppy Den in Las Vegas

Those looking to experience a luxurious outdoor adventure can vacation onboard Celebrity Solstice, beginning August 15, for a seven-night journey to Alaska with four of their favorite chef'testants:

• Paul Qui: Top Chef Texas winner; Chef/Owner of Qui and East Side King in Austin

• Tiffani Faison: Top Chef Season 1 runner-up and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; Chef/Owner of Sweet Cheeks Q in Boston

• Brooke Williamson: Top Chef Seattle runner-up; Co-Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Hudson House, The Tripel and Playa Provisions in California

• Nina Compton: Top Chef New Orleans runner-up and Fan Favorite winner; Chef de Cuisine for Scarpetta Miami at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel

On September 19, vacationers can set their sights on the most romantic cities in Europe on the 'France & Iberian Discovery Cruise.' Guests can wine and dine in modern luxury style for 12 nights onboard Celebrity Infinity with chefs including:

• Chris Crary: Top Chef Texas contestant and Fan Favorite winner

• Kristen Kish: Top Chef Seattle winner

*Additional chef to be added

Guests can escape to warmer weather onboard Celebrity Reflection as it sails on November 15 to the Caribbean for a seven-night escape in paradise with four chef'testants:

• Hosea Rosenberg: Top Chef Season 5 winner; Owner of Blackbelly Market (opening summer '14), Blackbelly Catering & Events and Blackbelly Farm

• Casey Thompson: Top Chef Season 3 and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; Chef of Aveline and The European in San Francisco

• Tiffany Derry: Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; Owner of TD Concepts

• Shirley Chung: Top Chef New Orleans contestant; Chef/Owner of Chung Lee Consulting

In addition to the four exclusive cruises featuring "Top Chef" chef'testants, Quickfire Challenges and "Top Chef"-inspired menu evenings will be available onboard all Celebrity Cruises ships, with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition, for all sailings departing July 2014 – June 2015.

Celebrity Cruises has been applauded for its award-winning cuisine and service across its fleet. From cooking exclusive dinners at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City to launching the cruise industry's first pop-up restaurants in New York and San Francisco, "Top Chef at Sea" is the next step in embarking guests on a rich vacation experience of endless culinary possibilities. For more details about "Top Chef at Sea," visit www.celebritycruises.com/topchef

Bravo's "Top Chef" will return for a twelfth season in Fall 2014. "Top Chef" is produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.00 + 3.04%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 53.08 + 3.90%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.02 - 0.66%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 33.28 + 3.35%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When she returned to service after the Falklands War in 1982, Queen Elizabeth 2 was noticeably different in appearance. What were the two changes made to the ship?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What was the largest passenger ship to ever fly the U.S. flag as her registry and ownership?

Answer - Pride of America for NCL.
courtesy of Byron Clayton, Singapore


Cruise News - March 17, 2014

Norwegian Escape to Homeport in Miami Year-Round; Norwegian's Winter 2015/16 Itineraries Announced
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that its newest and largest ship to date, Norwegian Escape, will homeport year-round at PortMiami, the cruise capital of the world, sailing an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Along with the previously announced move of Norwegian Epic sailing year-round from Barcelona, the line's 2015/16 winter deployment includes its return to South America cruises, a larger Jewel-class ship sailing to the Mexican Riviera, as well as the addition of Port Canaveral, Florida as a seasonal homeport.

Norwegian Escape to Homeport in Miami Year-Round"Norwegian Escape's arrival to Miami coincides with Norwegian Epic's year-round Europe deployment, demonstrating the balanced approach we used to develop our winter 2015/16 deployment and ensuring that we had a varied offering of premium destinations that would be exciting to our guests," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "Much of this deployment was designed based on feedback from our guests and travel partners, and we know they will be happy with the changes and enhancements we have made."

Norwegian Escape - Norwegian's newest and largest ship to date, at approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths, Norwegian Escape will join the fleet in October 2015. Beginning November 14, 2015, Norwegian Escape will offer seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailings from her year-round home port of Miami cruising to Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. The ship will boast all of exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced.

"PortMiami looks forward to welcoming Norwegian Escape in 2015?the ship will be a fabulous addition to our fleet," said PortMiami Director Bill Johnson. "We are thrilled that this impressive vessel will make her debut at PortMiami-- the Cruise Capital of the World?and will be the third Norwegian Cruise Line ship to homeport here year round."

Europe

As previously announced, the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Epic will offer Europe itineraries from her new year-round homeport of Barcelona, Spain. From November 29, 2015 through April 7, 2016, Norwegian Epic will set sail from Barcelona on 10-day Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries, and 10, 11- or 12-day Western Mediterranean itineraries.

Caribbean

Miami's Ultimate Ship, Norwegian Getaway, will continue to sail year round from Miami on a new seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary departing every Sunday starting November 15, 2015. Ports of call include Norwegian's private island Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Guests cruising to the Caribbean from the Big Apple can cruise on board Norwegian Breakaway or Norwegian Gem. Norwegian Breakaway, the ship that brings the best of NYC out to sea, will return to the Southern Caribbean during the fall and winter offering four 12-day Southern Caribbean itineraries: November 29, 2015; and January 3, 17 and 31, 2016. Ports of call on this sun-drenched itinerary include: San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

orwegian Gem will offer 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from New York from October 10, 2015 through April 11, 2016Norwegian Gem will offer 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from New York from October 10, 2015 through April 11, 2016, cruising to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. This new itinerary provides a full day in San Juan, Puerto Rico, giving guests more time to explore this flavorful island or experience its world famous El Yunque rainforest.

Cruising from Tampa, Norwegian Star will offer one six-day Western Caribbean Sailing on October 19, 2015 followed by a series of seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 10, 2016. Norwegian Star will be the first ship in Norwegian's fleet to visit the line's new destination in Belize: Harvest Caye. In addition, Norwegian Star will visit ports of call including Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. Cruisers looking to depart from New Orleans can sail on one of Norwegian Dawn's seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries. Departing every Sunday from November 15, 2015 through April 24, 2016, Norwegian Dawn will visit tropical ports of call including Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Norwegian's all new destination in Belize, Harvest Caye.

Norwegian Jade repositions from Europe to Houston, Texas and will sail seven-day Western Caribbean cruises. From November 14, 2015 through April 9, 2016, guests will have the opportunity to visit Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Norwegian's brand new destination, Harvest Caye, Belize.

Also returning to the Caribbean from Europe, Norwegian Spirit will offer alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral every Saturday from November 21, 2015 through April 16, 2016. Norwegian Spirit's Eastern Caribbean itinerary visits Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The ship's Western Caribbean itinerary will include stops in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

South America

Norwegian Sun will return to South America for the first time since 2010, sailing 14-day South American voyages between Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina from November 2015 to April 2016. Ports of call include Puerto Montt, Chile; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Guests on board will also enjoy a scenic cruise through the Chilean Fjords, Strait of Magellan and around Cape Horn.

Panama Canal

Guests who would like to experience the Panama Canal without disembarking in a different port will have the opportunity to embark on a round-trip Panama Canal voyage from Miami on board Norwegian Pearl. Offering alternating 10- and 11-day Panama Canal cruises from November 9, 2015 through January 1, 2016 and March 18, 2016 through April 8, 2016, guests will visit Oranjestad, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; Colón, Panama; and Puerto Limón, Costa Rica.

Norwegian Pearl will also offer a 17-day Panama Canal voyage from San Francisco to Miami on October 1, 2015. Ports of call include Los Angeles, California; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Cartagena, Colombia. vNorwegian Jewel will offer two 15-day Panama Canal voyages from Los Angeles to Miami on January 3 and January 31, 2016 and two 13-day Panama Canal voyages from Miami to Los Angeles on January 18 and February 16, 2016. Ports of call on the 15-day itinerary include Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; daylight transit of the Panama Canal; Cartagena, Colombia and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Guests cruising on the 13-day itinerary will visit Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; daylight transit of the Panama Canal; Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Mexican Riviera

For the first time, Norwegian will base a Jewel-class ship in Los Angeles for the winter season. Norwegian Jewel will sail 22 seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries from October 4, 2015 through April 24, 2016, visiting ports of call including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Norwegian Sun will also offer three 11-Day Mexican Riviera sailings in October 2015 from San Diego, California. Ports of call include Manzanillo, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Mazatlan, Mexico; La Paz (Pichilingue), Mexico; an overnight in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Ensenada, Mexico.

Bahamas and Florida vNorwegian Breakaway will offer seven-day Bahamas & Florida itineraries from New York City from October 25 through November 22, 2015, from December 13 through 27, 2015 and from February 14 through April 17, 2015. Ports of call include Orlando & The Beaches (Port Canaveral); Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Repositioning Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line will also offer a host of repositioning cruises during the 2015/2016 fall and winter seasons.

Norwegian Escape will offer a 10-Day Transatlantic from London (Southampton) to Miami, Florida, on October 29, 2015 giving guests 10 days to explore and discover all of the exciting dining and entertainment that will be found on board the line's beautiful new vessel.

Norwegian Spirit will offer a 16-day Transatlantic voyage from Barcelona to Orlando and the Beaches (Port Canaveral) on November 5, 2015. Ports of call include Funchal, Madeira; St. John's, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Norwegian Star will sail a 13-Day Transatlantic voyage from London (Dover), England, to Tampa, Florida, on October 6, 2015 visiting Ponta Delgada, Azores and Miami, Florida. Norwegian Jade's 16-Day Transatlantic from Barcelona, Spain to Houston will set sail on October 29, 2015 and ports of call include Funchal, Madeira; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Miami, Florida.

Norwegian Dawn will sail a 14-Day Caribbean Adventure from Boston, Massachusetts, to New Orleans on October 30, 2015. Ports of call include San Juan, Puerto Rico; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. vFor a shorter repositioning cruise option, Norwegian Jewel will offer a five-day Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, California on September 29, 2015 visiting Victoria, British Columbia and Astoria, Oregon.

Norwegian Pearl will also offer a Pacific Coastal cruise, a three-day itinerary from Vancouver, British Columbia to San Francisco, California on September 28, 2015, visiting Astoria, Oregon.

Celebrity Announces 2015 European Sailings
Celebrity Cruises has revealed its 2015 Europe itineraries, with five state-of-the-art ships sailing to 94 destinations in 28 countries. With new ports of call and a greater variety of itineraries to choose from, Celebrity will be sailing to Europe's most intriguing destinations. Celebrity will offer more than 65 overnight stays, giving guests the chance to fully immerse themselves in each destination. Many of the overnight visits will also take place during must-see events and celebrations allowing vacationers to experience Europe as a local.

The cruise line's newest ship Celebrity Reflection will sail her 2015 summer and fall season in Europe along with the Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Eclipse.

New itineraries for 2015 include:

Celebrity Constellation: The Millennium Class ship will sail the MediterraneanCelebrity Constellation: The Millennium Class ship will sail the Mediterranean with a new selection of seven-night itineraries. Venice, Italy will be the new home for the modern luxury ship, joining Istanbul, Turkey and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy:

• Greek Isles and Turkey seven-night sailings: Departing from Venice and calling in Dubrovnik; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Katakolon, Greece; and more

• Black Sea and Greek Isles 12- to 14-night itinerary: Visiting Burgas, Bulgaria; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens (Piraeus), Mykonos and Santorini, Greece; Koper, Slovenia; and the Bosphorus Strait

• A special 14-night sailing on July 19, 2015, will sail from Venice during the Redentore Festival, an exciting and atmospheric Venetian tradition that dates back to more than 400 years ago.

Celebrity Silhouette: Northern Europe will be the new destination for Celebrity Silhouette in 2015 and guests can enjoy more overnight stays in top European ports of call:

• Scandinavia and Russia: 12-night roundtrip from Amsterdam to Stockholm with three overnight stays in the exciting cities of Copenhagen, Denmark; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Stockholm

• The British Isles: Roundtrip from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Fredericia, Denmark; Cork, Dublin and Waterford, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Holyhead, Wales; Dover and Liverpool, England; and Paris (Le Havre), France and more; plus overnight stays in Dublin Bay (Dun Laoghaire), Ireland; and Edinburgh, Scotland for guests to enjoy the British Open golf tournament.

Celebrity Equinox: Popular in 2014, Celebrity's seven-night itineraries will feature a greater variety of Mediterranean vacationsCelebrity Equinox: Popular in 2014, Celebrity's seven-night itineraries will feature a greater variety of Mediterranean vacations to choose from in 2015. These sailings can be combined into a destination-immersive Mediterranean Grand Tour vacation experience of up to 28 nights. Celebrity Equinox will sail from Athens as a new port in 2015, plus Barcelona, Istanbul and Rome:

• The series of seven-night itineraries include visits to Nice (Villefranche), France; Athens, Chania, Crete and Rhodes, Greece; Ephesus and Istanbul; Catania, Florence, Genoa, Rome, and Sicily, Italy; Ajaccio, Corsica; and there are new overnight stays in Ibiza, Spain and Mykonos, Greece, where guests can enjoy the vibrant nightlife.

• Guests also have the unique opportunity to experience an overnight in Cannes, France during the star-studded Cannes Film Festival. The 10-night Mediterranean itinerary sets sail on May 11, 2015 from Barcelona to Rome

Celebrity Eclipse: A series of 11- to 14-night sailings will explore Europe's top sun and beach destinations, and the ship's 13- to 15-night itineraries will visit popular destinations in Northern Europe:

• Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, England, Celebrity Eclipse will cruise into Ponta Delgada, Azores; Lisbon and Madeira (Funchal), Portugal; Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

• Vacationers can also enjoy 13- to 15-night Scandinavia and Russia itineraries to historic cities, including Copenhagen; Stockholm; Tallinn, Estonia; Klaipeda, Lithuania; Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland; St. Petersburg; and Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany.

Celebrity Reflection: The ship's third successful consecutive season in Europe offers a series of 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings from Rome to the Greek Isles and Turkey; and the 11-night itinerary features an overnight stay in Istanbul.

In 2015-16, the premium brand will also introduce the newly announced "Suite Class" experience. Beginning April 2015, the new luxurious offerings include a dedicated suites-only restaurant, VIP lounge, complimentary premium drinks and more According to Italian news website Gazetta del Sud.

Venice Cruise Ship Ban Suspended
Venice Cruise Ship Ban SuspendedAn Italian court issued a ruling on Monday that suspended certain restrictions on large cruise ships that visit Venice that had gone into effect in January. The appeal for the delay was made by Venezia Terminal Passeggeri (VTP), the group that runs the port of Venice along with several other companies that do business with the cruise lines. The court said that the suspension would be in effect until a hearing is held on June 12th.

The January restrictions reduced by 20% the number of ships over 40,000 tons that were authorized to cross the Giudecca canal. Another restriction that is scheduled to go into effect in November of 2014 would ban all ships over 96,000 tons from the same route. In the Monday ruling, the Italian court said that alternative routes for the ships had yet to be determined.

The restrictions were put into place following the capsizing of the Costa Concord in January 2012 which killed 32 people off the coast of Tuscany. Those seeking the restrictions were concerned about the potential damage that would be caused if ships as large as the Costa Concordia began visiting Venice on a regular basis. Environmentalists have warned that the ecosystem and lagoon that surrounds Venice, including the centuries-old pilings that support the city could be damaged by the large cruise ships.

Diamond Princess to Undergo Extensive Drydock
To get ready for Princess Cruises' second season of Japan cruising, Diamond Princess is undergoing an extensive drydock to add enticing new features designed to appeal to Japanese cruisers. During the $30 million-dollar refurbishment, the ship will receive an extensive new Japanese bath area – making it the largest such bath experience at sea – as well as a new sushi restaurant, enhanced shopping areas, a revitalized Horizon Court, additional staterooms, new interior furnishings and finishes, fresh hull paint and exterior refurbishment, and contemporary and Asian-style touches.

Diamond Princess is undergoing an extensive drydock to add enticing new features designed to appeal to Japanese cruisersThe drydock, which begins today, will take place through April 2, 2014 at Sembawang shipyard in Singapore. Interested viewers can follow the drydock progress with regular photo updates offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse each day.

The most dramatic new feature, the 8,800-square-foot bath and garden complex will include indoor and outdoor bathing areas to provide a choice of bath styles. Highlighting the serenity and relaxation of a classic Japanese bath experience, the area will feature stone and other natural materials and a setting similar to the popular-onsen experience for which Japan is well-known.

"Because bathing is an important part of the Japanese culture, we want to offer passengers an authentic experience onboard, complete with unparalleled ocean views." said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This is just one of several additions we're making to the ship to give passengers an appealing Japanese experience."

Passengers will step into the new bath area through a peaceful entrance beckoning them toward an elegant, open-air Japanese unisex hydro-therapy pool, which is surrounded by refreshing ocean breezes. Outdoors, passengers will be able to relax in plush shaded lounge chairs or soak in a footbath while enjoying fresh salt air. Indoors, passengers can enjoy two separate, gender-segregated bath experiences with spectacular sea views. The ocean-view sauna and bath will feature an open air skylight to help bathers connect with nature, as well as a dry sauna with dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a refreshing gentle mist sauna. The Stone Bath will feature an Utaseyu, an invigorating cascade of hot water that is ideal for relieving tension in the back and shoulders.

In addition to the new bath area, Diamond Princess passengers will enjoy a new sushi restaurant. Because of the popularity of the Kai Sushi restaurant introduced on Sun Princess, a bigger version of this restaurant will be added to Diamond Princess, and will feature both table seating and a sushi bar serving fresh seafood. The 66-person capacity restaurant will serve miso shiro, nigiri sushi, maki sushi, sashimi, seafood cocktails and, for dessert, matcha ice cream with red bean paste. Sake lovers will be able to try a variety of regional sakes for a taste of many of the ports featured during the cruise.

The duty-free boutiques aboard Diamond Princess will be remodeled to offer a new luxury shopping experience to appeal to customers in Japan. Among the distinctive new spaces is a luxury watch boutique -- anchored by a special OMEGA shop. The Essence boutique will introduce the first fragrance bar at sea where passengers can sample and learn about new scents. The Meridian Bay boutique includes a full crystal Swarovski installation as well as Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn collections. A new Limelight luxury boutique will offer designer leather and accessories including fashionable international and American designer brands such as Burberry, Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo, Coach and Ralph Lauren.

The ship's buffet area, the Horizon Court, will be upgraded to feature contemporary food service areas and action stations for live a la carte cooking, plus a special pastry shop, refreshed décor and expanded seating.

Other changes include 14 new cabins, a sports court on the roof of Skywalker's Nightclub, a revitalized photo gallery and Platinum Portrait Studio, new art gallery displays, new décor in Sabatini's Italian specialty restaurant, remodeled casino and relocated Internet café and wedding chapel.

Once out of drydock, Diamond Princess will set sail on a season of Japan-based cruises on April 17.

The ship will homeport in Tokyo (Yokohama) for an extended season of nine-day cruises that include visits to Taiwan, South Korea, Hokkaido, Russia and 15 Japanese ports, including five new itineraries created especially for the ship. During the popular holiday period of Golden Week, Diamond Princess will feature a special 10-day itinerary that includes opportunities to visit several festivals plus enjoy a special call to Nagasaki, home to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries where the ship was built, to celebrate Diamond Princess' 10-year anniversary.

The new features aboard Diamond Princess add to the ship's current impressive array of dining and entertainment options plus signature innovations such as the popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat. The 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess offers a high number of staterooms with private balconies, multiple dining rooms and entertainment venues, Lotus Spa, boutiques, and an internet café, among other amenities.

Carnival Names New VP Shipboard Human Relations

Carnival Cruise Lines has named Dolores L. Calicchio vice president – shipboard human resources, effective March 31, 2014.  Calicchio will report to Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival's executive vice president – ship operations.

Carnival Cruise Lines has named Dolores L. Calicchio vice president shipboard human resourcesCalicchio will be responsible for developing, integrating and managing the cruise line's core human resource strategy and functions for all shipboard hotel and marine personnel across Carnival's 24-ship fleet.  In addition, she will oversee the line's recruiting efforts, crew training and certification, and compensation, benefits, and crew welfare programs. In collaboration with the ship operations team, Calicchio also will oversee the continuing development of the Carnival Service Values fleetwide hospitality training program, as well as reinforce the line's culture of safety and reliability.

"Dolores's experience at large organizations and global corporations is a tremendous asset to Carnival's human resources team," said Rodriguez. "With her depth of knowledge and strategic mindset, she is the ideal candidate to balance the day-to-day operational aspects of the position with providing a longer-term vision for the shipboard human resources function at Carnival."

Calicchio brings 15 years of senior-level experience to her new position. Most recently she was chief people officer at BAYADA Home Health Care, an $850 million, privately held home health care company with 22,000 employees. Prior to that, she worked at Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems for 10 years, most recently as vice president – human resources. Calicchio also held top management positions at several large pharmaceutical companies, including Rhone-Poulenc Inc. and Merck & Company Inc.

Calicchio served as the human resources chair for the United Way of Somerset County, N.J., as well as for The National GEM Consortium, a non-profit organization sponsored by Notre Dame University which raises funds for minority students pursuing higher education in math and science.

Calicchio holds a bachelor of science in biology from Kean College in New Jersey and a master of business in human resources leadership, education and technology from New York University.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 38.82 - 0.49%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 51.09 - 0.39%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.04 - 1.94%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 32.20 - 2.16%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the largest passenger ship to ever fly the U.S. flag as her registry and ownership?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What was the name of the first passenger ship to resume commercial sailings on the North Atlantic after World War II? Hint: she returned to service in August of 1945.

Answer - Norwegian America Line's Stavangerfjord, 13,156 tons 679 passengers.
courtesy of Doug Windsor


Cruise News - March 10, 2014

NCL Cancels Tunisia Visits After Israeli Passengers Not Allowed Ashore
QM2 Captain Stands On Bulbous BowThe government of Tunisia refused to allow Israeli nationals the right to disembark Norwegian Jade in the Port of La Goulette, Tunis on Sunday, March 9, 2014. In response to this discriminatory act, Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has cancelled all remaining calls to Tunisia and will not return.

"We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's CEO. "We are outraged by this act and the fact that we were not notified in advance of this practice. We apologize sincerely to our guests who were affected and want them to know that we have taken the appropriate action in response."

Norwegian Cruise Line employs more than 90 different nationalities and welcomes people of all nationalities aboard its vessels. The Company does not condone or tolerate discrimination of any type and with these cancellations hopes to send a message to those who do that such acts are completely unacceptable.

QM2 Captain Stands On Bulbous Bow, Cunard Issues Press Release
QM2 Captain Stands On Bulbous BowOn Sunday, Cunard released dramatic photographs of Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2, standing beneath the flagship's soaring hull a mile off the coast of Bali during the ship's World Cruise in her 10th anniversary year.

The images by James Morgan show Captain Oprey surveying the scene from the top of Queen Mary 2's bulbous bow, an underwater projection that minimizes the creation of bow waves around the waterline when the ship is under way. Two safety craft were standing by during the photo shoot, but Captain Oprey remained sure-footed throughout.

An interesting side note is that Captain Oprey is not the first person to do this. Back in 2004 two local teens climbed up onto the ship's bulbous bow while it was anchored in Geiranger, Norway. At the time, local security and Queen Mary 2's crew were unaware that the boys had pulled off the stunt and only found out about it after someone send a photo of the boys on the bulbous bow to a local newspaper.

Back in 2004 two local teens climbed up onto the ship's bulbous bowAs she continues on her 2014 World Cruise, Queen Mary 2 will make her 10th port of call at Sydney on Friday 14 March after circumnavigating Australia. She will then head north towards Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Singapore before turning west for Sri Lanka and Dubai. Next, she will enter the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal and return to Southampton, England, on 9 May to mark her 10th anniversary of becoming Cunard's magnificent flagship. Sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will join in the exuberant celebrations.

At 151,200 tons, Queen Mary 2 is the largest and most expensive ocean liner ever built, accommodating 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew. In her first 10 years of service, following a spectacular naming by Her Majesty The Queen on 8 January 2004, Queen Mary 2 has undertaken more than 420 voyages, including over 200 Transatlantic Crossings, and has called at 182 ports in 60 countries.

She remains the longest, tallest, widest ocean liner ever built, as well as being the most famous and fastest passenger ship in operation today.

Artist Guy Harvey Unveils His Hull Artwork for Norwegian Escape
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Guy Harvey, widely recognized as the world's finest marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, has been named to design the signature hull artwork of the line's largest ship to date, Norwegian Escape, scheduled to debut in October 2015. At an event this morning at Cruise Shipping Miami, the artist revealed his custom design for Norwegian Escape's hull, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife. Norwegian's newest ship is Harvey's largest canvas to date, at 1065 feet in length, with his artwork spanning from the hull to the aft featuring two undersea scenes that blend seamlessly.

Artist Guy Harvey Unveils His Hull Artwork for Norwegian Escape"Guy Harvey is the perfect artist to design Norwegian Escape's hull artwork because he is so passionate about the sea and his marine artwork is so life-like and well recognized," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "We also appreciate how Guy is focused on ocean conservation and keeping the marine environment pristine, we plan to work with him to help support the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation as that goes hand-in-hand with our company's strong commitment to the environment."

Harvey combines his unique artistic talents with his background as a marine biologist, diver, photographer and angler, to create marine wildlife art with an unmatched authenticity and visual appeal.

"I am deeply honored to be asked by Norwegian to paint the hull of the newest and largest ship in their fleet," said Harvey. "The larger than life paintings of popular but endangered marine creatures in the Caribbean will heighten public awareness about marine life. The large scale mural demonstrates the concern and respect that Norwegian and I have for the marine environment through which this ship will travel over the years."

Though recognized most recently for his floor-to-ceiling murals at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, Harvey is best known for his dynamic gamefish T-shirt designs. His original paintings have sold for tens of thousands of dollars and today, reproductions of his art, often seen on magazine and catalog covers, are offered as limited edition prints and can be found on a wide variety of clothing and gift items. Harvey maintains his art studio in Grand Cayman, where he lives with his wife and two children.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds inspired scientific research and innovative educational programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments. The Foundations ensures that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced marine ecosystem where fish and other wildlife flourish. Onboard Norwegian Escape, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation-produced documentaries about endangered marine wildlife will be shown on the guest stateroom televisions so that guests can be more educated on how they can help with ocean conservation.

Also at Cruise Shipping Miami today, Norwegian announced that Norwegian Escape will homeport year-round in Miami and sail a seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary starting November 14, 2015; visiting Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. At approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths, Norwegian Escape will join the fleet in October 2015. The ship's Eastern Caribbean itineraries will go on sale March 19, 2014. Norwegian Escape will boast all of exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced.

Mariner of the Seas Completes Firt Singapore Season
Royal Caribbean International's Mariner of the Seas, the largest cruise ship based in Asia, has completed its first Singapore winter/spring season today which started last November. The 138,279 gross registered ton ship is leaving Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore for Shanghai on an 8-night cruise with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Hong Kong and Xiamen.

Mariner of the Seas Completes Firt Singapore SeasonMariner of the Seas has lined up a total of 29 sailings for this Singapore season, comprising a variety of 3, 4 and 5-night cruises to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Langkawi, Penang and Phuket and a 7-night cruise to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) (overnight) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My). Highlights included the festive cruises for Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year with special entertainment and feasts, as well as theme cruises namely the world's first all-champions Latin dance competition cruise in January and the Valentine's Cruise hosted by UFM100.3 deejay Wenhong and Lianhe Wanbao food critic Alan Ng from Singapore in February, attended by more than 600 fans.

After her Shanghai season for the summer and autumn which features North Asian sailings, Mariner of the Seas will be returning to Singapore this November for her next season. For her short cruises of 3 to 5 nights, Kuantan will be the newest port-of-call, on top of Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Langkawi and Phuket.

The ship will also add more long scenic sailings of 7 nights to her repertoire of Southeast Asian itineraries, due to popular demand. These come with overnight stays at Phuket or Bangkok (Laem Chabang) as the highlights, which offer more time for guests to explore these popular ports-of-call from day to night as well as the ship's wide range of amenities and activities. Examples are the 7-Night Spice of Southeast Asia Cruise to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang, Langkawi and Phuket (overnight) on January 19 and 26, 2015 and the 7-Night Thailand & Vietnam Cruise to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) (overnight) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) on February 11.

Jennifer Yap, Managing Director, Singapore and Southeast Asia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, "We are seeing a growing demand from customers for seven nights and above, as the region's cruise market matures. More vacationers are opting for longer cruises to explore destinations and better experience our Asia's largest cruise ship and all her innovative features."

New ‘Seuss At Sea' Program Debuts On Carnival Splendor
Carnival Cruise Lines' exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises kicked off in grand style last week on Carnival Splendor which became the first "Fun Ship" to offer Seuss at Sea, a fleetwide program featuring exciting youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences inspired by the amazing world and words of Dr. Seuss.

New Seuss At Sea Program Debuts On Carnival SplendorThe fun-filled festivities included the first-ever Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends, where both the young and young at heart enjoyed deliciously playful food straight from Dr. Seuss's imagination – green eggs and ham, colorful fruit and pancake stacks, funky French toast, as well as traditional breakfast favorites, all served by wait staff in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms. Popular characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam-I-Am joined guests at their tables for fun interactions and one-of-a-kind photo opportunities.

Also debuting on Carnival Splendor is Seuss-a-palooza Story Time, an interactive reading event for kids of all ages, hosted in a vibrant, custom-created tent on the stage of the main show lounge. Equally popular was the inaugural Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade where guests joined Dr. Seuss characters in a swirly conga line along Carnival Splendor's promenade.

Carnival Splendor is stocked with a selection of classic Dr. Seuss books, toys and games and is hosting special showings of beloved movies such as "The Cat in the Hat" on the giant outdoor Dive-In Movies screen.

"We're delighted to debut the Seuss at Sea program on Carnival Splendor which is sure to amuse and delight kids of all ages while providing parents and their children an opportunity to participate in fun and playful activities together as a family," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.  "In addition to providing a wonderful environment for quality family time, Seuss at Sea arms travel agents with yet another effective marketing tool for enticing families to set sail aboard the ‘Fun Ships,'" he added.

"Quality family time is more important than ever in today's ‘always on' society and we're very excited to debut the first Seuss at Sea program which brings the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss to thousands of families sailing aboard the Carnival Splendor," said Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. "We can't wait to work with our partners at Carnival to create even more magical memories for families as we roll out the Seuss at Sea experience to additional ships across Carnival's fleet."

Next up is Carnival Freedom which will be outfitted with a variety of specially designed Dr. Seuss spaces following its multi-million-dollar makeover this spring.  Fleetwide roll out of Seuss at Sea is expected by 2015 and the program will also be featured on the new Carnival Vista which is set to debut in 2016.

30th Annual Cruise Shipping Miami Opens Today
The 30th annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference and exhibition opens today at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show runs through Thursday, March 13.

30th Annual Cruise Shipping Miami Opens TodayThe annual gathering usually draws around 11,000 attendees, but UBM, owner and organizer of Cruise Shipping Miami, anticipates a jump of more than 30 percent in visitors and delegates to the three-day exhibition and four-day conference. The trade show, which is almost 10 percent larger than last year, features 140 new exhibitors for a total of nearly 900 exhibiting companies from 127 countries.

"No one could have predicted 30 years ago that from a meeting of 150 cruise executives in a hotel in New York that Cruise Shipping Miami would grow to become the industry's premier annual event," said Daniel Read, director of UBM's Cruise Event Portfolio. "The conference sessions, State of the Global Cruise Industry panels, Emerging Products Zone and Cruise Trends Theater all will address issues and developments that will shape the cruise industry of the future."

Cruise Shipping Miami kicks off today with the World Cruise Tourism Summit, a series of roundtable discussions led by industry experts.

The conference officially opens Tuesday, March 11, with the "State of the Global Cruise Industry" plenary session featuring the top executives from the world's largest cruise corporations: Carnival Corporation & plc, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.

The session also features Katty Kay, anchor of "BBC World News America," as the event's first moderator from outside the cruise industry.

New for 2014 are three additional "State of the Global Cruise Industry" panels led by cruise line chief executives addressing trends and developments in the world's major cruise regions: the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The exhibition, which covers all four halls of the Miami Beach Convention Center, officially opens Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. and closes Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Represented in the trade show are the world's largest shipbuilders, 400 destinations, cutting-edge information technology providers, ship equipment suppliers and entertainment companies. New this year is an interactive Food & Beverage Pavilion focusing on the latest in shipboard culinary trends, products and equipment. Other industry sectors include ship design and refurbishment, ship services and hotel operations.

The exhibition features trade delegations from Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and Turkey.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.01 + 1.27%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 51.29 + 0.14%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.10 + 0.98%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 32.918 - 2.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the first passenger ship to resume commercial sailings on the North Atlantic after World War II? Hint: she returned to service in August of 1945.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which current cruise ship was almost destroyed by fire in 1990, ran aground in 1994, and eventually became popular on the 3 and 4 day Bahamas and Mexico run? Hint: she is no longer on that itinerary.

Answer - The ship is Louis Cruise Line's Cristal. Originally Sally Albatross, then Leeward, then Superstar Taurus, then Silja Opera, then Opera and now Cristal.
courtesy of Ilpo Mäkinen


Cruise News - March 3, 2014

NCL Unveils Norwegian Epic's New Europe Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced Norwegian Epic's 2015/2016 winter itineraries from her new year-round homeport of Barcelona, Spain. From November 29, 2015 through April 7, 2016, Norwegian Epic will set sail from Barcelona on 10-day Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries, and 10, 11- or 12-day Western Mediterranean itineraries. Norwegian Epic's new Europe itineraries will open for sale in April 2014.

NCL Unveils Norwegian Epic's New Europe Itineraries"Norwegian Epic is the perfect ship to bring to Europe year-round and the ship's new Europe itineraries are sure to be a hit among cruisers looking to explore this spectacular part of the world," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "These new itineraries provide exciting experiences and sights for our guests, while giving them a chance to spend more time exploring more of the beautiful cities that Europe is known for."

Canary Islands & Morocco - Norwegian Epic will offer 10-day Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries from Barcelona starting November 29, 2015. Norwegian Epic's Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries will encompass some of the most sought after ports of call along the North Western Coast of Africa and will visit: Tangier, Morocco; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Spain; Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; and Málaga (Granada), Spain. Sail dates are: November 29, 2015; January 3, 24, 2016; February 14, 2016; and March 6 and 28, 2016.

Guests looking to celebrate Christmas 2015 on board Norwegian Epic can do so on a nine-day Canary Islands & Morocco itinerary on December 19, 2015. Guests cruising for Christmas will visit Tangier, Morocco; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Spain; and Málaga (Granada), Spain.

Western Mediterranean - Guests wishing to cruise to the Western Mediterranean on Norwegian Epic can cruise on their choice of six-, 10-, 11-, and 12-day itineraries. Norwegian Epic's 11-day itinerary features ports of call including Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Palma, Majorca, Spain; and Barcelona, Spain, and will be offered on January 13, 2016 and February 3 and 24, 2016.

On December 9, 2015 and April 7, 2016, Norwegian Epic will sail two 10-day Western Mediterranean itineraries that visit Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy. Guests looking to cruise through the New Year can set sail on December 28, 2015, from Barcelona on a six-day cruise. Ports of call include Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy and Palma, Majorca, Spain.

Norwegian Epic's final cruise of the winter season, on March 16, 2016, will be a 12-day Western Mediterranean that visits Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Palma, Majorca, Spain; and Valencia, Spain.

CLIA Chief Discusses Growth of European Cruise Market
Today Christine Duffy, President and CEO of the cruise industry's global trade association – Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – delivered remarks at one of the world's largest travel and tourism conventions, the annual ITB conference in Berlin, Germany.

In 2012, 5.7 million passengers embarked on a cruise from EuropeIn her speech, Duffy outlined the tremendous growth the cruise industry has witnessed both in Europe and globally and detailed the positive economic impact of the cruise industry in Europe.

In 2013, CLIA member lines welcomed 21.3 million guests worldwide, and the industry anticipates this will grow to 21.7 million guests in 2014. A recent study shows cruising contributes over $100 billion to the global economy, supports more than 775,000 jobs, and pays $32.5 billion in wages.

"The cruise industry has a long and proud history in Europe – dating back to 1844 when the Peninsular & Oriental line launched the first 'sea tours,' bringing passengers to destinations such as Gibraltar, Malta, and Athens," Duffy said. "In 2012, 5.7 million passengers embarked on a cruise from Europe – making Europe the second largest market for cruise passengers worldwide. CLIA Europe and our National Chapters throughout Europe are proud to represent the industry and support our members by working with various stakeholders to continue the growth of cruising in this very important market."

Duffy highlighted the significant role the German cruise industry plays in the European market and also spoke to the cruise industry's sustainability efforts in Europe and globally, and its work to promote and maintain a healthy planet.

"No industry has a bigger stake in maintaining a pristine environment – both in the waters we sail and the ports we visit," Duffy explained. "We will continue to forge new paths toward a greener, more sustainable planet."

She also pointed out that cruise lines are already testing and installing catalytic converters and scrubbers, which will greatly reduce emissions. This, Duffy noted, "will make cruising more environmentally conscious than ever before."

Summing up the robust growth outlook for the cruise industry globally, Duffy concluded, "Our future is defined by new opportunities for growth, new ships that will broaden cruising's appeal to even more passengers, and exciting new itineraries that will open up more ports and destinations."

Duffy's remarks at ITB Berlin represented her second major international speech in the past month. She also delivered the keynote address at CLIA Australasia's inaugural cruise3sixty conference in Sydney, Australia in February, and she will kick off the thirtieth annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference, the premier annual event of the worldwide cruise industry, on March 11.

Carnival Legend Returns To Service
Carnival Legend recently returned to service from Tampa with a variety of new and exciting innovations, including a WaterWorks aqua park featuring the exhilarating Green Thunder water attraction, as well as a Twister slide, a children's spray park and more.

Carnival Legend recently returned to service from Tampa with a variety of new and exciting innovationsAlso new is the tropics-inspired RedFrog Pub, a full-service sushi restaurant called Bonsai Sushi, the Cherry on Top confections and novelty shop, and two new entertainment options, Playlist Productions and Hasbro, The Game Show, all of which were added during a multi-million-dollar makeover in Freeport, The Bahamas.

New features on Carnival Legend include: WaterWorks, an aqua park highlighted by Green Thunder – the only attraction of its kind in North America that features an 187-foot-long slide with a pulse-pounding 34-foot-long drop where riders obtain speeds of up to 25 miles per hour; WaterWorks also features the 214-foot-long Twister slide, as well as a splash zone with various spray toys, dual mini-racing slides, and a 150-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket

• RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-themed watering hole where guests can relax with the Caribbean's best rums and beers – along with Carnival's own ThirstyFrog Red private label draft brew – and enjoy live music while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance

• Bonsai Sushi, a full-service sushi restaurant offering delicious Asian-inspired delicacies — sushi, sashimi, rolls and more, along with popular beers and cocktails from the region — all enjoyed amidst a contemporary Far East decor

• Cherry On Top, a "candy and more store" which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

• Hasbro, The Game Show, where guests are part of the show through a series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the company's iconic and popular games

• Playlist Productions, which builds upon Carnival's reputation for high quality entertainment, combining captivating live performances and high-tech special effects, all set to popular and recognizable songs

A variety of additional enhancements, including upgraded swimming pools and gym equipment, along with new carpeting, tile work and wall coverings, were also completed during the two-week-long dry dock.

Carnival Legend will continue its current schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from Tampa through Aug. 17, then embark on a 13-day Panama Canal transit that ends in Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 30, 2014. The ship will then sail a 23-day trans-Pacific voyage departing Long Beach Aug. 30, and arriving in Sydney, Sept. 22, 2014, positioning the vessel for a seasonal program of eight- to 12-day cruises featuring destinations throughout New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

RCL Sending Two Radiance-Class Ships To Alaska
Summer 2015 will mark Royal Caribbean International's 26th year in taking vacationers to experience the immense unspoiled wilderness of Alaska. Royal Caribbean will deploy two Radiance-class ships, Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, to the Last Frontier and offer more oceanview and balcony staterooms for guests to take in the unfolding landscape on an Alaska vacation. For a more immersive Alaska experience, vacationers also can choose a Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Tour to explore deeper inland and encounter the multitude of wildlife that call Alaska home, or delve into the beauty and exceptional towns and cities of the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and the Okanagan Wine Valley. Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas' 2015 Alaska seasons are now open for bookings.

Royal Caribbean will deploy two Radiance-class ships, Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, to the Last FrontierAdditionally, Royal Caribbean announced that Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas will join Anthem of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Vision of the Seas to total eight Royal Caribbean International ships to sail Europe in summer 2015. Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas will take guests on a range of Greece, Turkey and – for the first time for the cruise line – Black Sea itineraries that unveils the unique colors and cultures of the region. Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas' summer 2015 Europe seasons also are now open for bookings.

From May to early-September 2015, Radiance of the Seas will alternate northbound and southbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier cruises, both seven-night itineraries from Vancouver, B.C. and Seward, Alaska, respectively. Guests will cruise the Inside Passage and by Hubbard Glacier, and call at Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway. On a special Sept. 4, 2105, sailing, Radiance of the Seas will sail a seven-night round-trip itinerary from Vancouver; cruise Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier; and call at Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Ketchikan. For its part, Jewel of the Seas will sail seven-night round-trip itineraries from Seattle, Wash., which cruise the Alaska Inside Passage and also Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier, and call at Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, B.C.

Additionally, vacationers can select among four Jewel of the Seas' sailings that explores the California Coast, ranging from six to eight nights in duration, at the beginning and end of the ship's Alaska season. Furthermore, a 14-night westbound Panama Canal sailing, departing May 2 from San Juan, Puerto Rico to San Diego, and a 15-night eastbound trans-Canal sailing, departing Oct. 10 from Los Angeles to San Juan, will bookend Jewel of the Seas' 2015 Alaska and California season.

Vacationers also can explore Alaska's interior on a variety of exciting Royal Caribbean Cruisetours, which combines a sailing aboard Radiance of the Seas with a three- to six-night land tour adventure. Royal Caribbean takes care of all the planning, transportation and lodging on fully escorted tours that spend at least one night in Denali National Park and one leg on the Wilderness Express, a plush, glass-domed train cars that offer panoramic views of the grand Alaskan frontier. Vacationers also can combine a Radiance of the Seas or Jewel of the Seas' Alaska cruise with one of four pre- or post-cruise land tours throughout the Canadian Rockies and the Okanagan Wine Valley. For a comprehensive Alaska and the Canadian Rockies adventure, the Ultimate Cruisetour combines both region's land tour programs with a seven-night cruise aboard Radiance of the Seas for a 19-night grand adventure on land and sea. For more details, please visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/CruiseTours.

Celebrity Cruises Announces World Tour 2015-16
Celebrity Cruises will offer an array of adventures and itineraries in 2015-16 to excite world travelers. With an enticing lineup of 261 destinations in 72 countries, Celebrity will sail to all seven continents, visit new ports of call in Alaska, Europe and Asia, and offer exciting overnight stays, many of which coincide with internationally renowned festivals. Full details of Celebrity Cruises' 2015-16 will be revealed as each set of itineraries opens for bookings.

Celebrity Cruises Announces World Tour 2015-16Marking the launch of Celebrity's World Tour, Celebrity has today unveiled 51 sailings to Alaska. Three modern, luxurious ships will sail to this magnificent state, including Celebrity Millennium, and Celebrity Infinity, which returns to the region for 2015-16. Celebrity Solstice, the newest of all cruise ships sailing to Alaska, offers the most verandas at sea, allowing incredible views of the unique scenery and wildlife. Guests can experience Sitka, with its snow-capped mountains, and the awe-inspiring Hubbard Glacier, the longest river of ice in North America, and one of the most active glaciers in Alaska. Captain's Club loyalty members will have exclusive 'Priority Access' for booking their Alaska trips beginning today, February 20, 2014, five days before the official on sale date - February 25, 2014.

To inspire vacationers, Celebrity will sail to new far-flung destinations for the first time ever. New ports include:
• Fredericia, Denmark
• Beppu and Kanazawa, Japan
• Vladivostok, Russia
• Dublin Bay (Dun Laoghaire), Ireland

Celebrity will also offer exciting overnight stays in 2015-16 with 29 destinations to choose from. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the nightlife in dynamic, culture-rich cities and be part of glamorous, world-renowned events and occasions such as:

• Celebrity Constellation will visit Venice, Italy, during the Redentore Festival

• Celebrity Silhouette will overnight in Edinburgh, Scotland during the British Open Golf Tournament

• Celebrity Equinox will overnight in Cannes during the star-studded Cannes Film Festival

• Celebrity Equinox will present overnight stays in two destinations widely recognized for their vivacious nightlife: Ibiza, Spain and Mykonos, Greece

• Celebrity Millennium will overnight in Hong Kong during festive Chinese New Year celebrations

Along with newly added destinations and overnight stays, guests can indulge in the new "Suite Class" experience, which launches during April 2015. New luxury benefits include:

• A dedicated suites-only restaurant using world class ingredients, available morning, noon and night

• A VIP lounge, Michael's Club, for guests in Celebrity, Signature, Royal, Penthouse and Reflection suites

• Complimentary 'all in' benefits - Premium beverages, dining at any specialty restaurant, unlimited internet access, private bar with water, sodas and beers - all included for guests staying in Royal, Penthouse and Reflection suites

Arison to Sell up to 10 Million Shares of Carnival
Arison to Sell up to 10 Million Shares of CarnivalCarnival Corporation & plc announced this week that Micky Arison, Chairman of the Board of Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc, has advised Carnival Corporation that trusts organized for his benefit plan to sell up to 10 million shares of Carnival Corporation common stock ("Shares") in market sales, representing up to approximately 1% of the total combined voting rights of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Arison indicated that he is selling for tax planning, estate planning and diversification purposes. All Arison Shares are held either directly or indirectly in various trusts for his benefit.

Of the 10 million Shares, 5,000,000 Shares were sold on February 28, 2014 at a price of US$39.50 per Share.

The remaining 5 million shares will be sold pursuant to sales plans under Rule 10b5-1 over the next 15 months. Rule 10b5-1 permits the creation of written plans for buying or selling stock at a time when insiders are not in possession of material non-public information. Once a plan is established, the insider does not retain or exercise any discretion over sales of Shares under the plan and the preplanned trades can be executed at later dates as set forth in the plan, without regard to any subsequent material non-public information that the insider might receive.

If all the Shares covered by the sales plans are sold, the Arison family and related entities will remain beneficial owners of approximately 188 million Shares, constituting approximately 24% of the total combined voting rights of Carnival Corporation & plc.

People In The News
Line has named Ali McEvoy the company's first community relations representative in Sydney, AustraliaHolland America Line has named Ali McEvoy the company's first community relations representative in Sydney, Australia. In this contract role, McEvoy will be responsible for overseeing corporate giving initiatives, including shipboard events, non-profit sponsorship opportunities and partnership activities in Sydney. McEvoy joins several members of Holland America Line's community relations team who are based throughout the United States.

McEvoy will report to Pamela Baade, community relations manager for Holland America Line in the company's Seattle headquarters and work closely with the company's local sales office in Sydney.

"Ali has extensive knowledge of the non-profit community and charity events in Sydney and the Australian tourism industry, as well as excellent experience in event planning and public relations," said Baade. "As we continue to expand our market in Australia, we believe it is important to give back and support local non-profit organizations, particularly in our focus areas of environmental, health-related, cultural, arts, and maritime causes."

Prior to joining Holland America Line, McEvoy was a consultant for Bastion EBA, a company that connects products and properties with aligned sponsors. Prior to that post she worked at Event Planet in the event planning department. She also worked at Young Presidents Organization (YPO) International, Janesce Solutions, Orlando Wines and IMG in various marketing and event planning positions.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 38.52 - 2.95%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 51.22 - 2.49%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.07 - 3.15%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 33.68 - 1.26%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which current cruise ship was almost destroyed by fire in 1990, ran aground in 1994, and eventually became popular on the 3 and 4 day Bahamas and Mexico run? Hint: she is no longer on that itinerary.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Between the time she left Cunard's service in 1968 and her arrival in Hong Kong in 1971, the Queen Elizabeth spent time in what is now one of the most popular ports in North America. Where was she laid up during this time?

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth was docked at Port Everglades, Florida and open to the public until it was declared a fire hazard.
courtesy of Rich C. The Villages, Florida


Cruise News - February 24, 2014

Passenger Dies After Freak Wave Hits Marco Polo
An elderly passenger on board Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Marco Polo died of injuries he suffered when the cruise ship was struck by a freak wave last week during what the company describes as "adverse sea conditions".

Passenger Dies After Freak Wave Hits Marco PoloAnother passenger was airlifted from the ship for further shore-side medical assistance. The cruise line said that the second passengers injuries were not life threatening. An additional 14 passengers sustained minor injuries and were treated in the ship's medical center.

In a statement, Christian Verhounig, Chief Executive of Cruise & Maritime Voyages commented, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers and their families affected during this difficult time.

The safety and comfort of our passengers is and will always be of paramount importance. Marco Polo undergoes stringent and rigorous surveys and is inspected regularly including a recent annual dry docking survey and certification. Marco Polo is a purpose built deep sea ocean going liner maintained and serviced in full compliance of strict British and International maritime regulations and is efficiently manned by a professional and dedicated crew. She also has the added advantage of an ice strengthened hull designed for special voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica Polar regions.

We have been touched by the overwhelming level of support received from passengers who experienced the freak wave incident and the fulsome praise extended to the Captain, his officers and hard working crew and also by many of our customers who cruise with us regularly onboard the much loved Marco Polo".

Marco Polo sustained some damage in the Waldorf Restaurant but repairs were made and the ship sailed on time from Tilbury on her scheduled 14 night cruise to Norway and the Land of the Northern Lights.

Marco Polo had departed from Tilbury on 5th January and was carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew.

First Steel Cut On New 135,000-ton Carnival Vista
First Steel Cut On New 135,000-ton Carnival VistaConstruction on the 135,000-ton Carnival Vista is officially underway.

Earlier this week at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the first steel was cut on Carnival Cruise Lines' newest "Fun Ship," which is slated to enter service in spring 2016.

Following the initial start-up of construction, workers will now begin building out the 4,000-passenger ship which will feature a variety of dining, bar and entertainment options that are part of the line's Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative as well as several innovations unique to this vessel.

Carnival Vista will be the 25th vessel in the Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet. Additional details on Carnival Vista's homeport, itinerary and design innovations will be announced in the future.

P&O Cruises Announces Changes To The Livery Of Its Ships
P&O Cruises is to change the livery of its ships with a bold new look which celebrates its heritage and its place as Britain's favourite cruise company and the longest version of the Union Jack will adorn its new flagship, appropriately named Britannia.

For nearly two centuries P&O has exemplified Britain across the world, becoming the country's greatest shipping company and part of its fabric.

P&O Cruises Announces Changes To The Livery Of Its Ships Now, as P&O Cruises refreshes and re-energises its brand, the company is to update the livery of its fleet of ships to celebrate, more clearly, its British credentials.

From the end of this year, the company's eight ships will begin to embrace on their bow a bold new Union Flag, styled in a contemporary way which looks to the future, while celebrating the past. The imagery will be sympathetic to the ships' sweeping lines and enhance their presence in port or at sea.

The ships will also have distinctive blue funnels carrying an illuminated rising sun motif which depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) name on the company's coat of arms.

The new livery was developed after extensive research among consumers. It will first be seen on P&O Cruises Aurora, after her drydock later this year, followed by Britannia at her launch in February 2015, and on all other P&O Cruises ships by the end of 2016. Britannia, the largest cruise ship exclusively for the British market, will display the longest version of the Union flag anywhere in the world, at 94 metres.

Chief executive officer David Dingle said: "In our 177th year we are unveiling a new, contemporarily styled livery which symbolises all that we stand for, pointing to the future and celebrating our British heritage. This bold new look will make our ships yet more distinctive and recognisable across the world.

"Our ships will proudly carry on their bow Britain's most distinctive symbol, the Union Flag, to all corners of the globe. The P&O Cruises name will be emblazoned along their hulls and the Rising Sun, the enduring symbol of our heritage, will shine from their funnels. This modern new look will exemplify the strengths and virtues of our company long into the future."

Royal Caribbean Announces 2015 Caribean Itineraries
Royal Caribbean International announced its 2015 summer Caribbean season for Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, and Grandeur of the Seas this week. Vacationers also will have a choice of three ships that sail from three convenient U.S. homeports to embark on breathtaking Canada and New England autumn vacations aboard Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. Vacationers can now make bookings for these six ships for the 2015 summer and autumn seasons.

Oasis of the Seas, will continue a seventh year of offering round-trip, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations from Fort Lauderdale, FlaOasis of the Seas, which shares the title of the world's largest and most innovative cruise shipwith sister-ship Allure of the Seas, will continue a seventh year of offering round-trip, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., calling at some of the Caribbean's most popular destinations. Ports of call include Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas and St. Maarten on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, and, on the Western Caribbean itinerary, Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti.

Aboard Oasis of the Seas, guests will enjoy the widest array of onboard amenities in seven themed neighborhoods, such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, a fully-licensed Broadway musical, the high-diving AquaTheater, and Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants, and many more. Oasis of the Seas also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H20 Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others.

Also from Fort Lauderdale, Independence of the Seas will alternate seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations for its very first summer Caribbean season in 2015. Western Caribbean ports of call include Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Labadee, while San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Maarten; and St. Kitts are on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Independence of the Seas is among the Freedom class of ships, which first introduced the FlowRider surf simulator and cantilevered whirlpools, and features other Royal Caribbean first-at-sea amenities, including the H2O Zone kids' aquapark, the Royal Promenade, and the four bedroom, four bathroom Presidential Family Suite, which can accommodate up to 14 guests.

Freedom of the Seas, the first among the Freedom class,will alternate seven-night roundtrip Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Port CanaveralFreedom of the Seas, the first among the Freedom class,will alternate seven-night roundtrip Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Port Canaveral along Florida's space coast, calling at St. Thomas, St. Maarten and CocoCay on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, and Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private beach destination, on the Western Caribbean sailing. Freedom of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas' guests enjoy the DreamWorks Experience, an exclusive integrated entertainment program developed with the world-class animated film studio powerhouse DreamWorks Animation. The DreamWorks Experience was first launched aboard Allure of the Seas in November 2010 and continues to impress guests and receive accolades. Guest can join in parades, themed activities and themed events based on DreamWorks Animation's popular feature-film characters, including Po of "Kung Fu Panda;" Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of "Shrek;" and Alex the Lion, Gloria, and the Penguins from "Madagascar." Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas also is equipped with a 3-D movie theater playing the latest DreamWorks Animation films, as well as a dedicated RCTV channel, featuring a variety of the film studio's popular movies.

For its part, Grandeur of the Seas will continue round-trip sailings from historic Baltimore, Md., and sail round-trip, seven-night Bahamas and Bermuda cruises. Guests will call at Port Canaveral, Nassau and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private Bahamian island paradise. On Grandeur of the Seas' Bermuda sailings, guests will enjoy three days at Kings Wharf to explore all the charm of Bermuda. In the autumn season, the ship will alternate six-night Bermuda sailings and eight- and nine-night Canada and New England cruises, calling at Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada.

In the autumn months of 2015, Brilliance of the Seas also will offer vacationers seven- and nine-night round-trip Canada and New England fall foliage sailings from Boston, Mass., while Serenade of the Seas will sail between Quebec City, Quebec, and Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., on 10- to 14-night fall foliage itineraries. Both Radiance-class ships, Brilliance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas feature Royal Caribbean onboard innovations, such as the adults-only Solarium pool area, self-leveling pool tables, and sea-facing glass elevators for breathtaking vistas of the unfolding shoreside landscape, known for its display of vibrant colors in the autumn seasons

Queen Mary 2 Crew Poses For Group Photo
More than 120 crew aboard Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 gathered together on the ship's bow in Sydney today for a dramatic portrait marking the legendary liner's 10th birthday.

More than 120 crew aboard Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 gathered together on the ship's bow in SydneyThe photo captured crew from every one of the liner's myriad staff roles – from gentlemen dance hosts and housekeepers to the kennel master and florist – to create an iconic image of Queen Mary 2's luxury life at sea.

Props featured in the shoot ranged from two dogs for the on board kennel, to a double bass and a harp for the liner's musicians, and a large ice carving for the resident ice carver.

Months in the making, the historic image was organised in Australia to symbolize the strong link between Queen Mary 2 and Australia while commemorating the liner's 10th birthday.

Since her first visit to Sydney in February 2007, when eager spectators gridlocked the city and brought traffic to a halt, Queen Mary 2 has become a firm favourite with Australians, turning heads wherever she sails. Her visit to Sydney today comes at the start of her second circumnavigation of the country from the city, a 23-night roundtrip voyage which will see her visit seven different ports around the nation.

"This historic photo shoot was a grand way to celebrate Queen Mary 2's 10th birthday and to honour the unsung heroes who make the world's most famous ocean liner tick," said Captain Kevin Oprey, master of Queen Mary 2. "Australia has become Queen Mary 2's home away from home and I can't think of anywhere more special than Sydney to celebrate her tenth birthday and in such spectacular fashion."

"Australia has embraced Queen Mary 2, with Australians now ranking as the fourth largest source of guests for the cruise line," noted Angus Struthers, marketing director for Cunard Line, who was in Sydney for the historic event. "Queen Mary 2 is an amazing liner with a lot of wonderful features and Australians really know how to enjoy them all – from our ballroom and planetarium, through to our fine-dining restaurants and Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar."

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which represents Cunard Line and six other cruise brands in Australia, said the photo shoot, undertaken by internationally acclaimed photographer James Morgan, was a uniquely Australian way of providing a vivid picture of the Cunard experience and the people who make it happen.

"Queen Mary 2 began her life at sea in 2004, but from that first arrival in Sydney three years later when she stopped the city in its tracks, Australians have made this wonderful ship their own," Ms. Sherry said. "At any one time, hundreds of Australians can be found cruising on Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, all of which are visiting Australia this cruise season."

Queen Mary 2 has visited Australia seven times. Today's visit to Sydney is her ninth visit to the city, having called there twice in 2012 during her maiden circumnavigation of the country, and twice in 2013 at the beginning and end of her first circumnavigation of New Zealand.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.69 - 2.63%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 52.53 + 0.52%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.17 - 0.31%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 34.11 - 3.01%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Between the time she left Cunard's service in 1968 and her arrival in Hong Kong in 1971, the Queen Elizabeth spent time in what is now one of the most popular ports in North America. Where was she laid up during this time?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which French Line ship struck a reef and caught fire off the coast of Mustique in the Caribbean? As recently as the early 1990's her broken hull was still visible on the reef.

Answer - The Antilles (1953) - On January 8, 1971 with 650 souls aboard became grounded on an uncharted reef at Mustique Island. In an attempt to free the ship the Master ordered fuel to be dumped overboard. Bad idea. This caused a fire in the engine room which spread to the restaurant. The passengers scattered to local islands by lifeboats and liferafts. The QE2 came to the rescue of the passengers plucking 510 from Mustique Island alone. Two days later a merchant ship found 85 crew members adrift in a lifeboat. There was no loss of life in the incident.
courtesy of Robert Stanley, Pelzer, SC


Cruise News - February 17, 2014

P&O's Britannia Floated Out
As lovers across the world exchange gifts on Valentine's Day P&O Cruises received a very special gift indeed as special ceremonies at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard near Trieste were held Friday February 14 to mark the float out of P&O Cruises' newest ship Britannia.

P&O's Britannia Floated OutThe first ceremony involved the welding of significant coins on the open deck of Britannia for good luck. A 1oz solid silver brilliant uncirculated 2013 coin featuring Britannia with her trident and shield was chosen to mark the occasion as 2013 was the year the hull was laid.

After the coin ceremony, the focus then moved to the dockside where the ship was blessed, and a bottle of Italian prosecco was smashed against the hull by the Madrina. Italian tradition dictates that a Madrina "godmother" officiates at a float out ceremony and P&O Cruises selected Travel Counsellor's Louise Hunt as Madrina for Britannia. Louise was selected through a travel agent competition run to find the best person possible to fulfil this role.

The valves of the dry dock were then opened so Britannia met the water for the first time.

During the formal ceremony, Carnival UK chief commercial officer Gerard Tempest said:

"Britannia will be a market-leading ship for a market-leading brand when she makes her debut in spring 2015. There will be an unrivalled mixture of contemporary sophistication mixed with those enduring hallmarks of P&O Cruises: high quality service, cuisine and entertainment delivered with style and glamour.

"We wanted Britannia to become a Modern Classic with the core of P&O Cruises heritage augmented by the latest contemporary design. Today is a landmark event for P&O Cruises and for the British cruise industry and is the start of a new chapter in our future."

When the biggest ship built for the British cruise market sets sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton to the Mediterranean on March 14 2015 it will mark a step change in holidays at sea.

Amongst the extraordinary experiences on board Britannia are:
• The Cookery Club – a 24 person state of the art cookery school developed in association with James Martin who will host regular classes on board
• Three tier feature atrium with Eric Lanlard patisserie, a charcuterie and gelateria as well as spectacular Star Burst sculpture
• Champagne afternoon tea by Eric Lanlard served in the fine dining restaurant
• Sindhu from Atul Kochhar and Olly Smith's The Glass House
• The Limelight Club – a combined entertainment and dining venue in the great tradition of the supper club
• Spectacular new outdoor deck show
• Gala dinners from Marco Pierre

Britannia's maiden season will see the ship sail from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea, as well as offering a range of short breaks and a special round Britain cruise.

The ship will then transfer to the Caribbean for the winter season sailing a range of 15 night fly/cruise itineraries from Barbados.

Celebrity Century To Leave Fleet In 2015
Celebrity Announces Celebrity Century's Farewell SeasonTo celebrate the farewell season of Celebrity Century, the ship will host special events, including a newly introduced "President's 'Celebration of the Century' Cruise," during a year featuring a record number of ports of call and 17 new cruise destinations for the brand. The farewell season will also feature exclusive onboard programming and special offers for guests. Celebrity Century will leave the fleet in April 2015 and will sail for CDF Croisières de France, the Paris-based subsidiary of Pullmantur/Royal Caribbean.

Captain's Club loyalty members and vacationers can join Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, on the President's Celebration of the Century Cruise in Asia. The 14-night sailing from Singapore on Celebrity Century will depart March 8, 2015, and guests will travel to magnificent destinations in Vietnam and the Philippines. Further special events and exclusive onboard programming will be announced shortly.

From March 2014 through April 2015, Celebrity Century will visit 77 ports across 32 countries, the most destinations worldwide of any other ship in the Celebrity fleet. New exotic destinations include Manila and Boracay, Philippines; Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara), Brunei; and Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar. Guests can take their pick from culture-rich experiences in Asia, Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Coast and South Pacific.

Since its inaugural sailing in 1995, guests have enjoyed Celebrity Century's spacious and beautifully-designed spaces, indulgent premium spa and award-winning dining experiences. Celebrity Century was the first ship to have the now hugely popular Martini Bar and Murano, the award-winning specialty restaurant.

NCL Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013
Norwegian Cruise Line (NASDAQ: NCLH, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., NCL Corporation Ltd., "Norwegian" or "the Company"), today reported results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2013, and provided guidance for the first quarter and full year 2014.

Full Year 2013 Highlights
• Adjusted EPS of $1.41, up 45.4%
• Net Yield increase of 4.3% (or 4.2% on a Constant Currency basis)
• Revenue of $2.6 billion, up 12.9%
• Adjusted EBITDA of $647.2 million, up 16.5%
• Financial transaction milestones, including initial public offering, optimize capital structure
• Introduction of Company's first Breakaway class ship, Norwegian Breakaway
• Commenced development of recently acquired island destination in Belize

Fourth Quarter 2013 Highlights
• Adjusted EPS of $0.19 compared to $0.04 in prior year
• Net Yield increase of 4.8% (or 4.7% on a Constant Currency basis)
• Revenue of $600.3 million, up 19.3%
• Adjusted EBITDA of $124.1 million, up 19.9%

"A year that began with a highly successful initial public offering, followed by other transactions which resulted in a strong balance sheet and credit metrics, and the launch of the first ship in our Breakaway class, Norwegian Breakaway, will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the seminal years in Norwegian's 47-year history," said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer. "The hard work of 25,000 Norwegian team members, all with a keen focus on our vision and mission, has been the catalyst for reaching these milestones, reporting solid financial performance in a challenging year for the industry and positioning the Company for measured, disciplined growth" continued Sheehan.

NCL Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013For the full year 2013, the Company reported Adjusted EPS of $1.41, which is above the top range of the Company's guidance and a 45.4% increase from 2012 Adjusted EPS of $0.97. Adjusted Net Income for the year was $295.8 million compared to $173.1 million in 2012. On a GAAP basis, net income and diluted earnings per share were $101.7 million and $0.49, respectively, the difference primarily relates to the prepayment and refinancing of certain credit facilities and the redemption of certain of the Company's senior notes in connection with the Company's initial public offering and refinancing activities.

A 13.4% improvement in Net Revenue was the result of the addition of Norwegian Breakaway to the Company's fleet, along with an increase in Net Yield of 4.3% (or 4.2% on a Constant Currency basis) from higher ticket pricing and onboard spend, partially offset by three incremental scheduled Dry-docks.

Adjusted Net Cruise Cost excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 3.6% (or 3.4% on a Constant Currency basis) mainly due to the aforementioned Dry-docks along with inaugural and other newbuild launch-related expenses. The Company's fuel price per metric ton, net of hedges, was $675 compared to $664 in 2012 while fuel consumption per Capacity Day decreased 3.3% in the period.

Interest expense, net for the year was $282.6 million and included $160.6 million in charges related to the aforementioned prepayments and refinancing of certain credit facilities and redemption of certain of senior notes. Excluding these charges interest expense, net was $122.0 million compared to $189.9 million in the prior year.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results
The Company reported fourth quarter 2013 Adjusted EPS of $0.19 on Adjusted Net Income of $40.5 million compared to $0.04 and $5.6 million, respectively, for the same period in 2012. Net income and diluted earnings per share on a GAAP basis were $36.1 million and $0.17, respectively.

Net Revenue for the period increased 19.3% from the addition of Norwegian Breakaway to the Company's fleet and a 4.8% increase in Net Yield (4.7% on a Constant Currency basis), partially offset by a Dry-dock for Norwegian Sky. Adjusted Net Cruise Cost excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 7.6% primarily due to the Dry-dock in the period and the acceleration of certain scheduled repairs and maintenance that the Company performed in the fourth quarter. Fuel price per metric ton, net of hedges, decreased 6.6% to $649 from $695.

Interest expense, net decreased to $24.6 million from $47.7 million in 2012, benefitting from the aforementioned financial transactions.

Newbuild Update and Other Highlights
On January 10, 2014 the Company took delivery of the latest ship in its fleet, the 4,000-berth Norwegian Getaway. The second in the Company's Breakaway class fleet, the ship offers a host of game-changing features and amenities that have been hailed as revolutionary when first introduced in 2013 on her sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway. These features include The Waterfront, a quarter-mile outdoor promenade lined with restaurants and lounges and 678 Ocean Place, the hub of the ship's nightlife activities with additional restaurants, entertainment venues and more. Unique to Norwegian Getaway are entertainment offerings including the hit Broadway musical Legally Blonde, the Latin-inspired Broadway ballroom show Burn the Floor and the first GRAMMY Experience at sea. The ship also boasts the Illusionarium, an extraordinary venue for the ship's first-at-sea magic, illusion and special effects dinner show.

The ship also marks Norwegian's return to the year-round, seven-day Caribbean market from Miami after a decade-long absence. Said Sheehan on Norwegian Getaway's arrival, "Norwegian pioneered Homeland Cruising over ten years ago by expanding its offering to homeports around the country. Today, as we expand our fleet through our disciplined newbuild program, we felt that now was the right time to not only return to Miami year-round, but to return with the largest ship to homeport year-round in the Cruise Capital of the World." Continued Sheehan, "Her seven-day sailings to the Caribbean provide a consistent option for our guests and travel partners looking for a Freestyle Cruising experience from Miami any time of year." As "Miami's Ultimate Ship", Norwegian Getaway showcases venues and features reminiscent of Miami and the surrounding areas, including The Tropicana Room, which harkens to 1950's Miami Beach dining and dancing halls, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and the Sunset Bar, inspired by Ernest Hemingway's Key West.

Construction on the Company's current newbuilds, the 4,200-berth Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss is on schedule for deliveries in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2017, respectively.

Carnival Brand Recovers After Rough Year
What a difference one year makes for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Last winter, the company had a series of well-publicized crises on their hands, including a disabled ship, The Triumph, adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to brand intelegence company BrandIndex, Carnival not only brought its consumer perception back in line with the rest of industry this past fall, but their sales potential with consumers has rebounded above the rest of the cruise sector.

By YouGov BrandIndex's calculations, it took nearly a full year, 334 days, for Carnival to recover to its previous perception levels, half the amount it took both BP and Toyota with their respective problems. Carnival is comparable to J.P. Morgan in the wake of their "London Whale" trading scandal and subsequent appearance before Congress – that lasted 213 days.

Carnival's recovery may have been accelerated by a number of initiatives:
• Spending $300 million in improvements in the fleet's safety system, and incorporating a review of each ship.
• Installing "Fun Ship 2.0" upgrades to their entertainment, bars and restaurants.
• Forming a Safety and Reliability Review Board, comprising outside experts, including two retired U.S. Navy Rear Admirals, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board and a former senior vice president with Delta Airlines.

While Carnival's perception comeback is impressive, it is accompanied with rising purchase consideration levels, an indicator of strong potential sales. Carnival spent much of 2013's fourth quarter ahead of the cruise industry on this metric, and is currently scoring just about even to a benchmark of its cruise industry peers.

Carnival Cruise Lines was measured with two of YouGov BrandIndex's metrics: Buzz, which asks "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"; and Purchase Consideration, asking respondents "When you are in the market next to purchase products in this category, from which of the following brands would you consider purchasing." All respondents were adults who say they are considering a cruise in the next 12 months.

YouGov BrandIndex's Buzz score ranges from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

YouGov BrandIndex's Purchase Consideration scale is from zero to 100%.

Carnivals sales potential with consumers has rebounded above the rest of the cruise sector

Australian Chef Mark Best Joins HAL's Culinary Council
Holland America Line announced the addition of Australian Chef Mark Best as the newest member of the line's esteemed Culinary Council. Celebrated as one of the most innovative chefs in the world today, Best was welcomed to the group at an event on ms Amsterdam during the ship's call in Sydney, Australia, while sailing on its 115-day Grand World Voyage.

Australian Chef Mark Best Joins HAL's Culinary CouncilBest will join Holland America Line's Master Chef and Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin, and prominent international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres on the Culinary Council. Best will add a selection of his French-inspired signature dishes to the line's menus and work with Sodamin and other council members to shape the culinary direction aboard Holland America Line's fleet.

"With our increased presence in Australia, it's exciting to welcome to the Culinary Council an accomplished chef like Mark who has made headlines locally as well as internationally," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "Mark is known for his innovative Australian cuisine and we look forward to seeing his passionate influence on our menus and introducing his flair and originality to our guests."

"The Culinary Council is a collaboration of some of the greatest international chefs, and Mark brings imaginative ideas from a part of the world that is very inventive with cuisine," said Rudi Sodamin, chairman of the Culinary Council and Holland America Line's culinary consultant. "Mark has great energy and creativity and our guests are really going to enjoy his dishes."

After an unconventional path toward a culinary career, Best found his passion for French food during an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro in Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia, in 1990. While there he was awarded the Josephine Pignolet Award for best young chef in New South Wales.

Best enjoyed stints working overseas in some of the world's most famous French restaurants, including Alain Passard's three-Michelin-star L'Arpége in Paris, France, and Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons in Oxford, England. He leaned on these experiences with classic French culinary preparation and matched them with his own innovation and intelligent recipe development to become the face of new Australian cuisine as he returned to Australia in 1999 and opened Marque in Sydney's Surry Hills.

Heralded by restaurant critics from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and around the world, Marque received the U.K. Restaurant Magazine's World's 50 Best Restaurants "Breakthrough Award" in 2010 and ranks among the San Pellegrino World Top 100 Restaurants. Marque was named 2011 restaurant of the year by the Sydney Morning Herald's "The Good Food Guide" and won the 2012 Australian Gourmet Traveller restaurant of the year award.

For a decade, Marque has held a prestigious Three Hats — the highest of the iconic symbols awarded by "The Good Food Guide" — as well as the maximum of three stars from Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine in its annual top 100 list. Best has published a cookbook, "Marque: A Culinary Adventure," and also has appeared on the television show "MasterChef Australia" as a guest chef and judge.

Holland America Line introduced the Culinary Council in 2010. In addition to providing expert guidance, advice and knowledge regarding onboard menus and culinary offerings, the Council works with the line's offerings in the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine, to bring new and engaging learning experiences to guests.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.76 + 1.12%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 52.26 + 2.79%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.18 + 3.58%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.17 - 1.26%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which French Line ship struck a reef and caught fire off the coast of Mustique in the Caribbean? As recently as the early 1990's her broken hull was still visible on the reef.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which popular French liner of the 1950's started her career crossing the Atlantic for North German Lloyd Line?

Answer - The 1950's French liner Liberte started out as the North German Lloyd liner Europa, a near sister to, and running mate of, Bremen. In 1929 Bremen took the Blue Riband from Mauretania after she had held it for more than 20 years. Later, Europa also briefly held the Blue Riband.
courtesy of Brian O'Leary, Montreal, Canada


Cruise News - February 10, 2014

Norwegian Getaway Christened
Norwegian Getaway, Miami's Ultimate Ship, was christened this week in a star-studded ceremony by the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, with a rousing finale by musical superstar Armando Christian Perez aka Pitbull. Brooke Burke-Charvet, co-host of "Dancing with the Stars," was the event's master of ceremonies.

Norwegian Getaway ChristenedNorwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round at PortMiami, kicked off her arrival to Miami in style. Throughout the christening ceremony, which took place in three themed venues around the ship, Norwegian Getaway's Miami flair was on full display. The ship's outdoor theater, Spice H20, transformed into the Magic City Lounge with the Miami skyline in the background, where Tito Puente Jr. started the party, followed by the cast of Burn the Floor. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders flipped the switch lighting up Miami and the bottle smashed against the side of the ship to officially christen her. Performing some of his most popular songs including his current hit "Timber," Pitbull wowed the crowd.

Miami Ultra rocked the ship's Atrium with DJ Tracey Young and the Trendtracker Tara Gilani, while Miami Splash! on the Pool Deck featured TV personality Louis Aguirre as host, along with a salsa performance from D'Angelo & Amanda of "America's Got Talent." After a performance by the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and the official bottle breaking ceremony, Pitbull's performance capped off the spectacular event, attended by celebrities including Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, Buddy Valastro star of TLC's the "Cake Boss," and artist David "LEBO" Le Batard. Pitbull also introduced his signature Voli brand to cruisers aboard Norwegian for the first time, as Voli - Vodka with Natural Flavors is featured onboard Norwegian Getaway and across the Norwegian fleet, along with two signature drinks including Pitbull's personal favorite, the Volito, his take on the classic mojito.

"Miami's ship is home and we couldn't be more proud to bring this spectacular vessel to this electric city," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "We thank Miami-Dade County for this warm welcome and the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders for christening this beautiful ship and are looking forward to a very successful inaugural season."

Norwegian Getaway will begin her weekly seven-day cruises from PortMiami to the Easter Caribbean on Saturday, February 8

Celebrity Cruises And Canyon Ranch Announce Partnership
Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch, one of the world's leading spa and wellness brands, today unveiled a partnership to feature Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea facilities onboard 10 state-of-the-art Celebrity ships. Canyon Ranch and Celebrity will create the largest and most comprehensive SpaClub at Sea offering, and debut exclusive SpaClub services and treatments.

Celebrity Cruises And Canyon Ranch Announce PartnershipThe luxurious Canyon Ranch SpaClub on Celebrity Cruises will include spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities presenting signature Canyon Ranch offerings. The industry-leading brands intend to elevate the onboard experience by introducing exclusive SpaClub treatments and services tailored to the unique preferences of Celebrity's guests, including new facial and body treatments, and unique yoga and meditation classes.

"We are passionate about providing our guests with unforgettable experiences, and this collaboration with Canyon Ranch is an important milestone in our drive to elevating guests' modern luxury vacations," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "We want every aspect of our vacations – from dining and destinations to relaxing in beautiful spa surroundings – to be special, and the experts at Canyon Ranch will help us deliver on this promise."

Both Canyon Ranch and Celebrity Cruises have long been recognized as leaders in their respective industries and have received countless awards. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea division of Canyon Ranch has been recognized as a "Best Spa at Sea" from various industry publications' readers choice awards, including Conde Nast Traveler and SpaFinder, Inc., and Celebrity Cruises is consistently awarded top honors by the readers of Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Celebrated Living magazine. The combination of these award-winning travel brands will result in an unmatchable vacation experience for discerning travelers seeking a taste of modern luxury at sea.

"It gives us great pleasure to offer our luxury spa experience to guests onboard Celebrity's state-of the-art ships," stated Peter Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Canyon Ranch. "Our approach to the wellness lifestyle perfectly complements that of Celebrity and we look forward to a long, prosperous relationship."

The new, robust spa menu features popular Canyon Ranch treatments, such as indulgent facials and facial enhancements, massage, thermal, Asian touch, and Reiki healing energy therapies. A selection of salon offerings, including hair care, nail, and makeup services, will also be offered. Fitness lovers can choose from private consultations to group classes, including yoga, Pilates, cycling, Mind/Body Connection and relaxation – led by Canyon Ranch-trained fitness experts. Wellness programs such as personal exercise prescription, private nutritional consults, acupuncture, Chiropractic therapy and Canyon Ranch Healthy Feet™ centers will also be available on select ships. Additionally, Canyon Ranch health experts will provide onboard wellness lectures, workshops and cooking demonstrations.

First Steel Cut for HAL's Future Pinnacle Class Ship
First Steel Cut for HAL's Future Pinnacle Class ShipHolland America Line celebrated a significant construction milestone today as the first steel was cut for the as-yet-unnamed Pinnacle Class ship that is due for delivery in February 2016.

Stein Kruse, the company's president and CEO, presided over the ceremony on February 4 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, where the vessel is being built. Antonio Quintano, director of Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard, co-hosted the event.

The 99,500-ton ship is the first Pinnacle Class vessel for Holland America Line and the largest ever built for the line. The steel cutting follows an intensive period of design and development for the 2,648-passenger ship that will feature exciting new elements and innovations.

"This is a proud day for Holland America Line as we officially begin construction on our new Pinnacle Class ship," said Kruse. "We're thrilled to be back at Fincantieri for such a milestone, and the next two years are going to be exciting as we unveil a host of new features that will be found onboard."

This is the 15th ship built for Holland America Line by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, which most recently constructed ms Nieuw Amsterdam that was delivered in July 2010.

"Construction of this new Pinnacle Class ship marks our second decade of building vessels for Holland America Line," said Quintano. "Starting with ms Statendam in 1993, our relationship with Holland America Line has evolved even as cruise ships have evolved over the past 20 years."

Royal Caribbean Announces Expanded 2015 Europe Season
Royal Caribbean International today announced that the second ship in the new Quantum class of ships, Anthem of the Seas, will be joined by Adventure of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas in the U.K. as part of an unprecedented 2015 Europe season. As previously announced in November 2013 at an exclusive event for media and special guests at London's iconic Heron Tower, the highly anticipated Anthem of the Seas will homeport at Southampton, U.K. when it launches in April 2015. The ship will mark its inaugural Europe season with 19 cruises to the Spanish, French and Italian rivieras, and the Canary Islands on three- to 16-night itineraries, and then reposition in late-October 2015 to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and sail five-night short Caribbean, six-night Western Caribbean and eight-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries through April 2016 for its first winter season.

Anthem of the Seas, will be joined by Adventure of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas in the U.K. as part of an unprecedented 2015 Europe seasonRoyal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members will have the exclusive privilege to reserve their staterooms earlier than the general public on Anthem of the Seas inaugural year sailings. Anthem of the Seas' summer 2015 Europe cruises will be available for member bookings starting Feb. 26, 2014 and the ship's winter 2015-16 Caribbean cruises will be open for members starting Mar. 12, 2014. Bookings for the general public on Anthem of the Seas' summer 2015 Europe cruises and winter 2015-16 Caribbean sailings will be opened on Mar. 3 and 20, 2014, respectively.

Serenade of the Seas also will join Anthem of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas in theNorth Sea in summer 2015, and offer a range of Scandinavia and Russia, as well as Norwegian Fjords, sailings from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Stockholm, Sweden. Adventure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas will open for booking on Feb. 26, 2014.

Adventure of the Seas will sail three- to 16-night, roundtrip itineraries to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, or Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands. The ship also will sail two trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyages – a 12-night itinerary from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Southampton on May 3, 2015, and from Southampton to Port Canaveral, Fla. on a 15-night return itinerary on Oct. 16.

Offering vacationer a second British port to embark on an unforgettable Royal Caribbean Europe vacation, Brilliance of the Seas will reposition from Tampa, Fla. to its homeport of Harwich, England, on a 14-night trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyage on May 4, 2015, and continue with 12-night roundtrip Scandinavia and Russia sailings from mid-May through August. A July 29 sailing will take guests on a special 12-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary, featuring an overnight call at Reykjavik, Iceland.

For its part, Serenade of the Seas alsowill offer vacationers seven- to 13-night Scandinavia, Russia and Norwegian Fjord itineraries from May through August. The ship will sail from Copenhagen from May through June and in the month of August, bookending sailings from Stockholm from mid-June through July.

Vacationers also can choose four repositioning cruises on Serenade of the Seas. The April 11, 2015, sailing will take guests on a 13-night Caribbean itinerary from New Orleans, La., to Boston, Mass., followed by a 15-night trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyage to Copenhagen via the North Sea. Finally, a 16-night westbound trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyage from Copenhagen to Cape Liberty via Iceland will depart on Aug. 30.

Along with its sister-ship Quantum of the Seas, the 4,180-guest, 167,800 gross tonnage Anthem of the Seas – both currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany – will be a dramatic leap forward for the cruise industry and introduce more game-changing "firsts at sea" such as a skydiving experience call RipCord by iFLY, and the North Star, an engineering marvel featuring a jewel like capsule that extends 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver 360-degree views for guests.

Cutting-edge transformative venues include SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line's largest and most advanced staterooms ever. These new, larger staterooms enable innovation in design, storage and comfort including the industry's first virtual balconies.

These innovations and advances follow Royal Caribbean International's strong tradition of introducing exciting guest experiences to the cruise line's ships. Anthem of the Seas and sister-ship Quantum of the Seas – which will debut in Oct. 2014 and sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty – will betwoof the most architecturally and technologically advanced ships ever built.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils New 'Suite Class'
Discerning guests who desire the very best in modern luxury vacations will soon be able to indulge in Celebrity Cruises' new 'Suite Class' experience. This will be fully introduced on Celebrity's state-of-the-art ships during April 2015. With exclusive new benefits including a suites-only restaurant, VIP lounge, complimentary premium beverages, plus more, the newly launched Suite Class is designed to create the ultimate luxurious experience. Guests will enjoy incredible service from the moment they arrive with their personal butler taking care of every detail. This is the only way to travel.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils New Suite ClassFrom the one-of-a-kind Reflection Suite, with its jaw-dropping ocean views and unique cantilevered shower, to the stylish Sky Suites, Celebrity's exceptional Suite Class experience is designed to set the standard in modern luxury vacations around the world.

The new Suite Class will include:

Private dining - A dedicated private restaurant reserved exclusively for all Suite Class guests will be available morning, noon and night. Each meal will feature unique menus that offer sumptuous dishes not available anywhere else onboard. Guests can truly immerse themselves in the local culture with specially crafted menus inspired by the local destination, and enjoy the world's best ingredients. Memorable and inspiring dishes will be served, from locally caught seafood, to the freshest pasta. The Suite Class chef can provide a tailor-made experience to suite guests and prepare a dish to their liking, and the Cellar Master - Celebrity's head sommelier - will select from more than 450 wines to provide the perfect pairing.

Premium 'all in' benefits - Premium beverages, dining across all specialty restaurants, unlimited internet access and a private bar with water, sodas and beers will all be complimentary for guests staying in Royal, Penthouse and Reflection suites.

VIP lounge - A private VIP lounge, Michael's Club, will be available to guests staying in Celebrity, Signature, Royal, Penthouse and Reflection suites. A dedicated Concierge service and unique food and beverage experiences by Celebrity's James Beard-featured chef will be provided to guests.

"Our guests are accustomed to exceptional quality and service, and for those wishing to further indulge in the very best while on vacation we have launched 'Suite Class', specially designed to appeal to the most discerning vacationer," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "We know that suite guests value privacy, personalized service, exclusive access and flexibility, and providing them with their own unique benefits, such as a dedicated restaurant with a dining experience like no other, is just another way that we are significantly elevating the guest's vacation with us."

Suite guests will also continue to enjoy a large number of benefits including:

The Celebrity 'Suite Class' welcome - Guests will receive priority check-in and embarkation

Legendary butler service - From unpacking guests' luggage to booking the best destination experiences on land, the Suite Class butler will be on hand 24 hours a day to ensure seamless, dedicated and personalized service.

The Suite Class experience will also include a daily high-end afternoon tea service served in the guest's spacious and beautifully-designed suite.

Luxurious stateroom amenities and benefits – As well as enjoying spacious suites with verandas that showcase sweeping ocean views, guests can indulge in a variety of luxury amenities including deluxe Bulgari bathroom amenities, plush robes, premium bedding and an indulgent pillow menu. A host of other extras will also be provided during the guest's vacation including reserved theater seating for all Suite Class guests.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.31 + 4.03%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 50.84 + 5.92%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.07 - 2.23%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.62 + 3.55%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which popular French liner of the 1950's started her career crossing the Atlantic for North German Lloyd Line?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Just outside of the Britannia Restaurant on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 are a series of metallic, art deco-influenced frescoes celebrating the historical and cultural icons of the continents. In addition to the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol on the "North America" mural there is a very tiny and surprising representative of the continent? Can you name him/her?

Answer - Homer Simpson is on the mural on the QM2 !
courtesy of Robert Alderman


Cruise News - February 3, 2014

Carnival Pride Returns To Baltimore In 2015
Carnival Cruise Lines and the Port of Baltimore today announced that the cruise line will resume year-round departures from Baltimore when the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride begins seven-day cruises in spring 2015.

Carnival Pride Returns To Baltimore In 2015Carnival Pride is currently based in Baltimore where it will remain through October 2014 then reposition to Tampa for a winter cruise schedule before returning to Baltimore for year-round service in March 2015, hosting nearly 120,000 guests annually.

In anticipation of Carnival Pride's return to Baltimore, the ship will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar makeover in fall 2014 that will add a host of dining, bar and entertainment innovations that are part of the line's $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program.

In addition to the new on-board features, Carnival Pride is one of several Carnival Cruise Lines ships that will be outfitted with exhaust gas cleaning technology – known as scrubbers –designed to reduce air emissions from cruise ships and large marine vessels. Scrubber technology will be installed on Carnival Pride prior to its Baltimore deployment in spring 2015. This new technology will enable the Carnival Pride to exceed the stricter air emission standards established for operation within the North American Emission Control Area (ECA).

"Baltimore is a convenient mid-Atlantic embarkation point for ‘Fun Ship' cruising and we're pleased to resume these attractive year-round departures which offer our guests an opportunity to visit a variety of beautiful, tropical destinations," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "We would like to extend our thanks to officials from the port and the state of Maryland for their outstanding support in our efforts to resume year-round cruising from Baltimore," he added.

"We are pleased to welcome Carnival Cruise Lines back to Maryland and the Carnival Pride cruise ship back to the Port of Baltimore," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Our Administration has a proven track record of advocating for a strong, healthy environment and fighting for high-quality jobs for Maryland families. I'm pleased Carnival and the Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard have agreed on a plan that will keep family-supporting jobs in Maryland and allow a cleaner and even greener Carnival Pride to return to this thriving cruise market."

On its year-round deployment from Baltimore, Carnival Pride will offer two distinctly different itineraries with voyages departing every Sunday beginning March 29, 2015. Week-long exotic eastern Caribbean cruises will visit Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport, The Bahamas, while a Florida/Bahamas schedule will feature Port Canaveral, Fla. (Orlando), and Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas.

During these cruises, guests can relax on beautiful white-sand beaches, participate in fun watersports activities and visit popular landmarks and attractions throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Central Florida.

Carnival Pride will undergo a three-week dry dock from October 19 to November 9, 2014, during which it will be outfitted with a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including:

• Guy's Burger Joint, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture

• BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas that can be personalized with a variety of salsas and toppings

• Bonsai Sushi, a full-service sushi restaurant offering delicious Asian-inspired delicacies – sushi, sashimi, rolls and more – all enjoyed amidst a contemporary Far East décor

• WaterWorks, highlighted by Green Thunder, the steepest and fastest water slide at sea, as well as the line's signature Twister slide full of exhilarating twists and turns and a spray park

• Hasbro, The Game Show, where guests are part of the show through a series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the company's iconic and popular games

• Playlist Productions, builds upon Carnival's reputation for high quality entertainment, combining captivating live performances and high-tech special effects, all set to popular and recognizable songs

• EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video game lovers' paradise where guests can catch live sporting events, check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker, and play the latest EA SPORTS games on a 16-screen video wall

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool

• Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy" that's the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who "prescribe" concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests' own custom-created cocktails

• RedFrog Pub where guests can enjoy the Caribbean's best rums and beers – along with Carnival's own ThirstyFrog Red private label draft brew – and island-inspired pub fare while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance

• RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside adaptation of the RedFrog Pub offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own ThirstyFrog Red

• The Library Bar, a warm and cozy venue offering self-serve wine dispensers and full bar service for those seeking a more intimate spot for before- or after-dinner drinks

• Cherry On Top, which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

Prior to its Baltimore deployment, Carnival Pride will operate a 14-day repositioning cruise departing Tampa March 15 and arriving Baltimore March 29, 2015. The special one-time voyage will feature six magnificent seaside destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central America, including George Town, Grand Cayman; Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; Aruba; Curacao; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Completes Major Refit
Royal Caribbean International's Navigator of the Seas is primed to resume year-round service from Galveston, Texas on February 5, 2014, after completing a month-long drydock revitalization. Part of an extensive fleetwide program to enhance every Royal Caribbean' ship, Navigator of the Seas will WOW the Lone Star State with the area's most innovative and contemporary Caribbean cruise vacation by introducing new and significantly enhanced dining options; debut a new FlowRider surf simulator; and offer a glimpse ahead toward the cruise line's highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas To Undergo Major RefitMost anticipated of all the ship's additions is the new FlowRider surf simulator, the center of the action atop the Sports Deck (deck 13), as well as the debut of Royal Caribbean's first Virtual Balconies in 81 interior staterooms displaying expansive, real-time views of the ocean and destinations. Virtual Balconies were first announced for Quantum of the Seas, which debuts October 2014, and vacationers can be among the first to experience the innovation on Navigator of the Seas – even before the Quantum class is launched. Vacationers also can choose new Panoramic Ocean View staterooms, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls providing guests breathtaking, unobstructed views all the time.

Navigator of the Seas' guests also can look forward to an expanded lineup of eight dining options, led by the debut of an all-new modern Mexican specialty restaurant Sabor, featuring a mouthwatering menu of authentic, modern and unexpected Mexican dishes, such as Oaxacan Ceviche of Red Snapper, Spicy Chicken Flautas, or Chicken and Roasted Corn Empanada, topped with Green mole and spicy peanut sauce – to name a few. Sabor diners also can delight in customized guacamole and salsas, made tableside right in front of their eyes, as well as an assortment of tacos, quesadillas and burritos, all made with the freshest ingredients. Sabor has a service charge of $25 per guest.

Guests can complement their experience with a curated menu of tequilas, mezcal, and Mexican beers, as well as delicious sangrias and tableside-mixed margaritas, for an additional charge. Sabor's tequila flights also offer guests a chance to sample a trio of Plata, Reposado and Anejo tequila, or savor the nuances among three Reposado tequilas.

Furthermore, Navigator of the Seas' guests will be the first to enjoy the fully revamped and elevated Chops Grille: The New American Steakhouse, which marries contemporary flair to traditional steakhouse offerings. The first among Royal Caribbean's fleet to offer the new menu, Chops Grille on Navigator of the Seas will feature brand new selections, such as the Veal Chop Parmesan, slow broiled with caramelized shallots and topped with parmesan herb butter, a Slow-braised Short Rib of Beef with Bordelaise sauce, and a Dry-aged Steak Burger served on a brioche bun and topped with melted gruyere and pancetta. Guests also can still enjoy Chops Grille classic cuts, such as the 8 Oz. Filet Mignon, served with Béarnaise butter, and a 10 Oz. Grilled Sirloin Steak, as well as a range of new and delicious signature appetizers, soups, salads, and sides – such as new, decadent Truffled French Fries and Gruyere Cheese Tater Tots – that will complete the experience in the cruise line's hallmark specialty restaurant. Chops Grille steakhouse has a service charge of $35 per guest.

Chops Grille also features two new premium selections of the finest quality cuts of beef in the world, a 16 Oz. dry-aged NY Strip Steak and a 20 Oz. dry-aged Porterhouse Steak (an additional $18 and $19 respectively), each USDA prime beef, dry-aged for four weeks to achieve the pinnacle of flavor, tenderness and aroma. This dry-aged process can only be found at select steakhouses around the world, and now, in a cruise industry first, is offered aboard Royal Caribbean International's Chops Grille.

Navigator of the Seas' guests also can choose exciting sushi and Asian fusion dishes in the ship's new Izumi Japanese Cuisine (a la carte menu), and delicious classic Italian favorites in Giovanni's Table Italian trattoria ($15 for lunch and $20 for dinner per guest). Rounding out Navigator of the Seas' culinary experiences is the grand, three-story main dining room, newly renamed Sapphire, the casual-dining Windjammer Café, and complimentary room service from 5 – 12 a.m. Navigator of the Seas' specialty restaurants are available for advance online reservations for booked guests at RoyalCaribbean.com.

Guests also will enjoy some of the more popular concepts that were introduced aboard Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Oasis-class ships, such as new digital signage, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, new flat-panel televisions in every stateroom, an oversized LCD movie screen overlooking the main pool, a new Diamond Lounge for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty member guests, and the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for the youngest guests ages six to 36 months. Additionally, the ship's Champagne Bar has been re-conceptualized into Royal Caribbean's signature, retro-chic R Bar.

Navigator of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries every Sunday from Galveston, visiting exciting warm-weather getaways in the Caribbean, including; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Falmouth, Jamaica; and George Town, Grand Cayman.

Carnival Debuts New TV Spot For The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Carnival Cruise Lines today announced it is the national cruise line advertiser of NBC's telecast of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, debuting a new marketing campaign featuring a tailored TV spot along with cinema and digital elements. The company will also provide other fun ways for fans to celebrate the season through social channels, including a Carnival Cruise Lines #ChampionSHIPS contest that challenges people to participate in a photo competition involving fun, cruise-themed categories on Instagram.

Carnival Debuts New TV Spot For The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter GamesThe new campaign is designed to build additional consumer interest during what is known as "wave season" – a key window for generating cruise reservations. Carnival recently announced a record reservations month in January citing unprecedented Web traffic and strong support from travel professionals.

Carnival's new "Bobslide" TV spot follows four young, thrill-seeking cruisers who race together down one of Carnival's popular waterslides. As the children stride across the deck in slow motion, a sportscaster voice over calls the action saying, "Here's the crew to beat today: Carnival-1. Hard to believe they just met yesterday." Donning goggles and bathing suits, the four-kid team twists and turns through the giant slide, reaching the finish line with big smiles, arms raised and a gigantic splash, creating a memorable moment for all. The sportscaster exclaims, "That was a run for the ages!" The video can be viewed here.

"With our brand motto of 'Fun for All, All for Fun,' we couldn't think of a better time to showcase our spirit than during NBC's broadcast of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. "As part of our ongoing marketing campaign, our new 'Bobslide' spot is not only emblematic of the amazing moments millions will celebrate this February, it also illustrates the fun and memorable experiences our guests of all ages enjoy every day on Carnival cruises."

"We were inspired by the spirit of sport, its camaraderie and its ability to bring friends and family together. The activities on a Carnival cruise represent that pure sense of thrill and joy and we wanted to capture that emotion," said Pete Johnson, executive creative director, creative lead, Arnold Worldwide Boston, the agency that created the ad. "The spot taps into the imagination and excitement of the newly found friends onboard the cruise and the exciting adventures that can play out."

Carnival will also create more ways for fans to get in on the action through a series of contests, videos and posts on the line's highly trafficked social channels. Each week via Instagram, Carnival will encourage fans to compete in a fun photo contest in various categories such as best game face, best sand versus snow image, and best water slider. Fans submitting winning photos will receive Carnival Cruise Lines gift cards valued at $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place.

Among a variety of other social media initiatives, Carnival will post a collection of videos that provide instructions on how to create winter-weather inspired warm cocktail recipes developed by the cruise line's master mixologist. The videos will be viewable via YouTube and promoted on Carnival's various social channels

Celebrity Sets Sail With "Top Chef"
Celebrity Cruises and Bravo's "Top Chef" invite fans on a global culinary adventure with the new " Top Chef at Sea " partnership. The premium vacation brand and the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition series unveiled an exclusive licensing partnership that offers fans custom "Top Chef" experiences onboard Celebrity's modern luxury ships. Building on last year's popular "Top Chef: The Cruise" charter, fans can enjoy an exclusive taste of the well-known series with enhanced culinary experiences for foodies and globetrotters alike. This marks the cruise industry's first Top Chef-themed licensing partnership on a large scale as well as Celebrity's first exclusive Top Chef-inspired experiences available onboard 10 Celebrity ships.

Celebrity Sets Sail With Top ChefCelebrity will launch four cruises featuring former "Top Chef" contestants departing July 27, August 15, September 19 and November 15. While vacationers sail away to dream destinations, such as Bermuda, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, they will have the opportunity to participate in complimentary cooking demonstrations, the show's famous, interactive Quickfire Challenges and other activities. For a more exclusive experience, guests can enjoy private cooking classes and events hosted by former chef'testants at an additional cost as part of their vacation experience.

In addition to the four exclusive cruises with "Top Chef" alums, Celebrity will also introduce Quickfire Challenges and "Top Chef"-inspired menu evenings to its modern luxury vacations onboard 10 ships for all sailings departing July 2014 – June 2015.

"Embodying passion for creativity and culinary excellence, 'Top Chef' perfectly complements our already exceptional culinary line-up and innovative dining that guests enjoy while vacationing with us," said Lisa Kauffman, VP of Marketing, Celebrity Cruises. "We are thrilled to offer new, diverse experiences in the coming year that invite vacationers to engage in their favorite entertainment and culinary options exclusively onboard Celebrity."

"'Top Chef' viewers are constantly asking for their chance to get a taste of the show first-hand," said Jamie Cutburth, SVP of Partnerships, Bravo & Oxygen Media. "With their commitment to and excellence in providing top-tier gastronomic experiences, the partnership with Celebrity Cruises is a delicious way for us to satisfy this request for Bravo's loyal and passionate fan base."

Recognized for its industry-leading dining experiences, Celebrity Cruises has been applauded for its signature, award-winning cuisine and impeccable service across its luxurious fleet. From cooking exclusive dinners at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City to launching the cruise industry's first pop-up restaurants in New York and San Francisco, "Top Chef at Sea" is the next step in embarking guests on a rich vacation experience of endless culinary possibilities.

The finale of the current season of "Top Chef" shot in Maui, Hawaii will air on Bravo on Wednesday, February 5 at 10pm ET/PT. In what the judges call the closest decision in "Top Chef" history, the final two chef'testants are challenged to create a pop-up restaurant and cook a meal that proves to the judges they deserve to be named "Top Chef." Bravo recently announced the series will return for a twelfth season in Fall 2014. "Top Chef" is produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers.

HAL Honors World Cancer Day With On Deck Fundraising Walks
As a part of its ongoing cancer research fundraising and awareness program, Holland America Line will hold On Deck for a Cause events this week across its fleet of 15 ships in support of World Cancer Day. From Australia and Antarctica to the Indian Ocean and Caribbean, guests and crew around the world will gather on deck to make the walk amid glaciers, palm trees and the Panama Canal.

HAL Honors World Cancer Day With On Deck Fundraising Walks  On Deck for a Cause invites guests to participate in a noncompetitive 5k fundraising walk on every sailing of the line's ships, with proceeds distributed among the American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, Cancer Research UK, Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society). These walks take place on more than 500 cruises each year.

"Although we support the fight against cancer year-round with our On Deck for a Cause program, World Cancer Day is a time to reflect on the potential we have to impact future treatment and prevention," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "Cancer is a disease that affects every region in the world, and we're proud to support top organizations in those countries where many of our guests come from."

Since fully launching across the line's 15 ships in mid-2013, On Deck for a Cause fundraising events have raised more than $200,000 with 200 walks and more than 10,000 participants. Holland America Line began its onboard fundraising walks in 2006 with On Deck for a Cure which raised more than $3 million to fund breast cancer research, education and treatment.

With On Deck for a Cause, guests of all ages are invited to donate $20 to the Holland America Line Foundation, and a minimum of 80 percent ($16) is distributed to the organizations. The remaining 20 percent covers program and administrative expenses. On a day at sea, participants join in a 5k walk around the ship's decks. Guests may walk less or not at all, as they prefer. Participants also receive an On Deck for a Cause T-shirt, wristband and a reception following the walk. Depending on the ship, the distance to reach 5k ranges from nine to 12 laps.

Princess Announces "Come Back New" Promotion
Princess Cruises is inviting passengers to join in the excitement of its just-launched "Come Back New" marketing campaign with a special sweepstakes, where one lucky winner will set sail on a free cruise to the destination of their choice. Weekly winners can record their cruise memories with Nikon's new, revolutionary 1 AW1 camera.

Princess Announces Come Back New PromotionRunning through April 6, the sweepstakes is available at https://princess.promo.eprize.com/holiday. Contestants can enter simply by registering on the site, plus can get additional entries by taking a destination personality quiz or by submitting their transformative vacation photos.

"We're celebrating the launch of our ‘Come Back New' campaign with a great opportunity for passengers to win an unforgettable cruise vacation," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The fortunate winner will be able to tailor the grand prize by choosing from among a world of destinations filled with opportunities to explore new cultures and capture memorable moments."

The grand prize winner will enjoy free airfare and a balcony stateroom for two aboard a seven- to 19-day cruise of their choice. The winner can pick their voyage from among Princess' many worldwide options, including an Alaska cruise, Alaska cruisetour, Panama Canal cruise, Hawaiian cruise, Caribbean cruise, Grand Mediterranean cruise, California Coastal cruise, Australia & New Zealand cruise, East Australia and Asia cruise or a Canada & New England cruise.

The grand prize winner will also receive a Nikon camera bundle featuring a Nikon 1 AW1 camera, with lens and accessories, valued at more than $1,000. This waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof camera offers the world's fastest continuous shooting frame rate, so photographers never miss those fleeting shots.

In addition, each week throughout the 12-week sweepstakes a winner will be randomly selected from the photo submissions to receive a Nikon 1 AW1 camera, valued at more than $800. The weekly winner's photo will be featured on the sweepstakes landing page each week.

"We are very excited that Princess Cruises passengers will have the opportunity to win our camera kit as part of the 'Come Back New' Sweepstakes," said Sharon Henley, senior manager of marketing for Nikon Inc. "The 1 AW1 is the ultimate camera for family adventures and the perfect companion for capturing all the fun and excitement aboard a Princess cruise, wherever it may take you."

The grand prize winner will be chosen on or before May 6, 2014. Eligible entrants must be at least 21 years old and U.S. or Canadian (excluding Quebec) citizens.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 38.75 - 1.57%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 48.00 - 0.08%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.14 + 0.96%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 34.40 - 0.98%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Just outside of the Britannia Restaurant on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 are a series of metallic, art deco-influenced frescoes celebrating the historical and cultural icons of the continents. In addition to the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol on the "North America" mural there is a very tiny and surprising representative of the continent? Can you name him/her?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What year was the last four stacker liner removed from service and what was the name of the ship?

Answer - The Furness-Bermuda lines was the only passanger/cruise ship to sail with one, two and three funnels during her long career. She was built in the early thirties as a three funneled liner. During WWII she served as a troopship with only two funnels. After the war she returned to service as a three funnel ship. In the early sixties she was refitted and came out as a single funnel liner. This made her look similar to her more modern sistership the Ocean Monarch.
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald


Cruise News - January 27, 2014

RCI Issues Statement Regarding Explorer of the Seas Norovirus Outbreak
Royal Cariibean issued the following statement related to the norovirus outbreak on Explorer of the Seas:

Royal Caribbean International Issues Statement Regarding Explorer of the Seas Norovirus Outbreak"Explorer of the Seas is on track to return home from its 10-day cruise on Wednesday. The number of reported new cases of gastrointestinal illness has dropped sharply after a spike in the first days of the cruise, and most guests who fell ill are up and about.

The drop in new cases is encouraging. However, it is not unusual in an outbreak to still have smaller, secondary spikes. That is why, after discussions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our medical team, we decided the most prudent course for the health of our guests and crew was to bring the cruise home on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned.

We are glad to see many guests are feeling better. Still, in the end, the exceptional disruptions caused by the early wave of illness meant that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting. Therefore, we have decided that all guests on this week's cruise will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare. In addition, all guests will receive an additional 50 percent future cruise credit. Those guests who had to be confined to staterooms by illness will receive an additional credit of one future cruise day for each day of confinement on this trip. We will also reimburse airline change fees and accommodations for guests whose travel home was inconvenienced by the change of travel plans.

After returning to home port on Wednesday, Jan. 29, we will perform a thorough "barrier" sanitization program on the entire ship to make certain that any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated. It will be the third aggressive sanitizing procedure the ship has undertaken since we became aware of the issue, and will additionally provide a window of more than 24 hours where there are no persons aboard the ship, which is a significant help. Guests scheduled for the next cruise on Explorer of the Seas can be confident that all possible measures will have been taken to prevent further problems

We will be cooperating with authorities and conducting our own internal assessments to make sure we are doing all we can continue to promote the health and safety of our guests and crew.

Explorer of the Seas departed Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Tuesday, January 21. She was scheduled to call to Labadee, Haiti, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. She missed her scheduled port calls in Labadee, Haiti and Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Carnival Imagination Kicks Off Service from Long Beach
Yesterday, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination kicked off a new West Coast cruise schedule when it departed on a four-day cruise from Long Beach.

Carnival Imagination Kicks Off Service from Long BeachThe arrival of the Carnival Imagination solidifies Carnival Cruise Lines' position as Southern California's number one cruise operator with three ships carrying 550,000 passengers annually.

On its new Long Beach-based schedule, Carnival Imagination departs Thursdays on three-day cruises to Ensenada, Mexico, and on Sundays on four-day voyages to Ensenada and Catalina Island.

Carnival Imagination joins its sister ship, Carnival Inspiration, which offers a similar short cruise program from Long Beach with three-day voyages departing Fridays and four-day sailings departing Mondays. Additionally, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle offers seven-day Mexican Riviera and 15-day Hawaii cruises from Long Beach on a seasonal basis.

Carnival Imagination has undergone an extensive renovation and includes an expansive WaterWorks aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and a tropical-themed resort-style main pool area, renovated spa and children's facilities, and more

Royal Caribbean Reports 2013 Results and Provides 2014 Guidance
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) today reported 2013 results and provided guidance for 2014.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Full Year 2013:
• Adjusted EPS was $2.40, $0.05 above the top end of the company's previous guidance. Strong close-in demand for Europe and Asia sailings coupled with continued strong performance in onboard revenue drove the improvement. Adjusted Net Income was $530.6 million versus $432.2 million in 2012.
• Net yields increased 3.2% on a Constant-Currency basis (2.7% As Reported).
• Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding fuel increased 1.8% on a Constant-Currency basis (2.1% As Reported).
• The company recorded restructuring and related charges of $56.9 million for the full year, including $43.0 million in the fourth quarter. These charges relate to the previously announced global restructuring actions and the pending sale of Pullmantur's non-core businesses.
• US GAAP EPS and net income were $2.14 per share and $473.7 million, respectively, which include the $56.9 million of restructuring and related charges described in this release.

Royal Caribbean Reports 2013 Results and Provides 2014 GuidanceDuring the last earnings call, Royal Caribbean stated that the company was seeking to divest Pullmantur's non-core businesses to facilitate Pullmantur's ability to focus on its cruise business and Latin America. In December, Royal Caribbean reached an agreement to sell these non-core businesses, the closing of which is subject to customary conditions. This disposition, combined with the previously announced global restructuring actions, resulted in a charge of $43.0 million in the fourth quarter ($56.9 million for the full year).

Looking forward, Royal Caribbean's guidance and results for 2014 and beyond will exclude these businesses from its non-GAAP measures to provide better comparability. For example, Pullmantur's non-core businesses have been excluded from Net Yield for 2013 and 2014 in calculating year-over-year Net Yield growth for 2014. However, in order to ensure comparability with respect to prior guidance, the results of Pullmantur's non-core businesses have been included in the 2013 key statistics.

2014 Outlook: Adjusted EPS for 2014 is expected to be in the range of $3.20 to $3.40 per share. Net Yields are expected to increase 2% to 3% on a Constant-Currency basis (Approx. 2% As Reported). NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly down on a Constant-Currency basis (Approx. flat As Reported). The remaining restructuring and related charges are expected to be approximately $23 million in 2014. In the fourth quarter of 2014, Royal Caribbean International will take delivery of QUANTUM OF THE SEAS, its first newbuild since 2010. In addition, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean's German joint venture will take delivery of its first newbuild this spring.

"Six months ago we said we thought we had reached an inflection point and these figures clearly bear that out," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "It has been a challenging year, but the fact that we have achieved our guidance from a year ago nicely demonstrates the strength of our business. Despite the lingering impact of 2013's negative media coverage on 2014, the year – and what it portends for future returns – is looking highly promising."

FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS

Adjusted Net Income for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $50.0 million, or $0.23 per share, compared to Adjusted Net Income of $21.1 million, or $0.10 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2012. US GAAP net income for the fourth quarter 2013 was $7.0 million or $0.03 per share. Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 3.8% during the quarter. Ticket revenue outperformed expectations as strong close-in demand continued for Europe and Asia itineraries. Onboard revenue yields increased 8.0% year-over-year on a Constant-Currency basis.

Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel increased 1.8%. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the fourth quarter was $686 per metric ton and consumption was 342,200 metric tons. Currency rates for the quarter were in line with guidance.

During the third quarter, Royal Caribbean recorded restructuring and related charges of $12.2 million and said that it expected additional charges in the fourth quarter. During the fourth quarter, Royal Caribbean recorded further charges of $43.0 million related to the previously announced global restructuring actions and the pending sale of Pullmantur's non-core businesses. Royal Caribbean expects to incur approximately $23 million of charges associated with these initiatives in 2014.

FULL YEAR 2013 RESULTS

Adjusted Net Income for the full year 2013 was $530.6 million, or $2.40 per share, compared to Adjusted Net Income of $432.2 million, or $1.97 per share, for the full year 2012. This represents a 22% year-over-year increase in Adjusted EPS. US GAAP net income for the full year 2013 was $473.7 million, or $2.14 per share.

Net Yields for the full year of 2013 increased 3.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Onboard revenue yields were up 7.6%.

NCC excluding fuel were up 1.8% on a Constant-Currency basis, which was in line with guidance.

The average bunker price net of hedging for full year 2013 was $687 per metric ton and consumption was 1,344,700 metric tons. To put this in a historical perspective, Fuel costs per APCD were in line with 2008 levels, as Royal Caribbean has offset a 14% increase in fuel prices by reducing the rate of consumption.

SALE OF PULLMANTUR NON-CORE BUSINESSES

In the fourth quarter, Royal Caribbean reached an agreement to sell Pullmantur's non-core businesses, the closing of which is subject to customary conditions. These non-core businesses include a land tour company and a Spanish travel agency. With Pullmantur's increasing focus on Latin America, the strategic importance of these businesses to Pullmantur has diminished.

While these non-core businesses are immaterial to Royal Caribbean's bottom line, they do impact individual components of the income statement. As described above, in an effort to provide greater transparency into the core cruise business and to facilitate comparability, Royal Caribbean will separate out these operations in its key statistics going forward. This will make period-over-period comparisons easier and more meaningful. For example, Adjusted EPS for 2014 will be shown excluding these businesses.

"This transaction is consistent with our on-going efforts to address underperforming assets," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. Liberty continued, "It reflects our determination to improve shareholder value."

FULL YEAR 2014

Bookings during the fourth quarter were on par with historical levels, and Royal Caribbean is experiencing a typical WAVE season. Booked load factors are up year-over-year for the second, third and fourth quarter, and flat for the first quarter. Average per diems are ahead of same time last year in all four quarters. Royal Caribbean expects a Net Yield increase of 2% to 3% on a Constant-Currency basis and approximately 2% on an As Reported basis for the full year.

"While the Caribbean continues to feel pricing pressure, strong demand for our other itineraries has more than compensated. In particular, load factors and pricing are up significantly for sailings in Europe and Asia. The overall result is increasing yields despite the remaining overhang from last year's industry events," said Liberty.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly down on a Constant-Currency basis and approximately flat on an As Reported basis – in spite of inflationary pressures, rising insurance costs and continued investment in the product and marketing.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean currently estimates 2014 Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $3.20 to $3.40 per share.

First quarter yields are expected to be approximately flat on a Constant-Currency basis (down approximately 2% As Reported). The first quarter of 2014 is the most difficult comparable due to the timing of last year's negative media storm and its effect on Caribbean sailings. Yields in the second, third and fourth quarters are expected to be higher due to easier comparables and strong performance on Europe and Asia itineraries.

Costa Names New Chairman
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) today announced Howard Frank has been named Chairman of Costa Crociere S.p.A, the largest Italian travel group and a major force in cruising throughout Europe, Asia and South America.

Carnival Corp announced Howard Frank has been named Chairman of Costa Crociere S.p.A, In this role, Frank will support Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A.

Last November, after 25 years with Carnival Corporation which included serving as Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman since 1998, Frank stepped down to serve as special advisor to the CEO and to the Chairman of Carnival Corporation.

Frank currently serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world's largest cruise industry trade organization.

Costa Crociere (www.costacruises.com ), which operates Costa Cruises, AIDA and Iberocruceros brands, is Europe's number one cruise company and the only Italian-flagged cruise line. For 65 years, the ships of Costa Cruises have plied the seas of the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream holidays with the utmost in terms of fun and relaxation. Its fleet, the largest in Europe, has a total of 14 ships in service, flying the Italian flag, and one new ship to be delivered in October 2014. All the ships in the Costa fleet have been assigned RINA's Green Star notation certifying that they are operated in compliance with the highest environmental protection standards.

HAL and Seabourn Announce Management Changes
Holland America Line and Seabourn have promoted Jim Colwell to director, risk management.Holland America Line and Seabourn have promoted Jim Colwell to director, risk management. In this role he will be responsible for leading the cruise lines' maritime risk management and claims adjustments.

Colwell will report to Larry Calkins, senior vice president, finance and information technology and chief financial officer for Holland America Line and Seabourn.

"Jim has an impressive background with both our lines and our sister company, Holland America Princess," said Calkins. "We welcome and support Jim as he applies his extraordinary experience and skills in leading our risk management group."

With the formation of Holland America Princess Alaska in 2009, Colwell most recently worked as part of the Health, Environment, Safety and Security (HESS) team for Holland America Line and Princess Alaska land operations where he managed driver, facility and marine safety compliance. He also was director, driver safety and training for Holland America Line's transportation divisions in Seattle, Alaska and Canada. As manager, risk management, Colwell handled crew and passenger claims for Holland America Line and Windstar. He began with the company in 1990 as a seasonal driver and guide in Juneau, Alaska, with Gray Line of Alaska.

Colwell is a graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., a Certified Accident Investigator and a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.37 - 4.81%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 48.04 - 3.07%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.11 - 0.96%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 34.74 - 4.93%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What year was the last four stacker liner removed from service and what was the name of the ship?

Answer - The last 4 stacker in service with 4 stacks was Cunard's Aquitania which was removed from service in 1950.

However, the Union Castle liner Arundel Castle which was originally built with 4 stacks remained in service until the end of 1958. She and her 4-stack sister, Windsor Castle, had undergone major refits in 1937 which saw both ships lengthened and converted to 2 stackers. Windsor Castle was sunk in WW II. I was given a tour of Arundel Castle in Port Elizabeth in September 1955.
courtesy of Brian O'Leary, Pointe-Claire QC Canada


Cruise News - January 20, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines Announces 'Carnival LIVE Concert Series'
Carnival Cruise Lines Announces Carnival LIVE Concert SeriesTurn up the volume live music fans! Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled a new entertainment offering to bring the best in live music to the seas. A first-of-its-kind experience in the cruise industry, the Carnival LIVE Concert Series offers Carnival guests the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at select ports of call.

Carnival has booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series with the following artists:

38 Special
Chicago
Daughtry
Foreigner
Gavin DeGraw
Jennifer Hudson
Jewel
Kansas
Lady Antebellum
LeAnn Rimes
Martina McBride
Olivia Newton-John
REO Speedwagon
STYX
Trace Adkins

"Performing live is one of my favorite things," said GRAMMY Award-winner, Jennifer Hudson at an exclusive launch event for Carnival LIVE in New York City on January 22. "I'm excited to be part of this unique concert series that will allow me to interact with my fans in such an intimate and memorable setting."

In addition to the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, Carnival is also enhancing its popular shipboard house bands. The bands will feature both male and female lead singers, a more choreographed, themed and diverse set list, and increased interaction with guests. Nine Carnival ships currently feature the new bands, with implementation across the full fleet over the course of this year.

"Onboard entertainment is an important part of the overall guest experience when cruising," said Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations for Carnival Cruise Lines. "With the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, our guests will enjoy an exclusive performance with one of their favorite artists for an extraordinary value. Combined with our enhanced house bands fleetwide, this is just another example of the many ways we are constantly looking to create even more fun and memorable moments for our guests."

Tamis added, "The Carnival LIVE 2014 Concert Series is also a great tool for our travel agent partners, providing an additional feature at a great value that can be promoted when selling Carnival cruises."

Beginning in April 2014, Carnival LIVE concerts will take place on board eight Carnival ships that call in the following ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Catalina Island, California. Artists will join the ship while in port, perform in the main show lounge that evening, and debark following their show.

Tickets cost $20-40 each and a limited number of VIP tickets are also available for each show for $100-$150 each. The VIP experience includes an artist meet and greet, photo opportunity, seating in the first three rows and a commemorative laminated concert pass. All tickets can be purchased through Carnival's online Shore Excursion System prior to sailing, or on board participating ships at the Shore Excursion Desk based on availability.

Seabourn Finalizes Contract with Fincantieri for New Ship
Seabourn has announced the formal signing of a contract for construction of a new all-suite vessel, continuing the fleet modernization that the company began in 2009 with the launch of Seabourn Odyssey. This new class of ship, which includes the Seabourn Sojourn (2010) and Seabourn Quest (2011), has won acclaim from luxury cruisers, travel agents and journalists alike, one of whom proclaimed the design "… a game-changer for the ultra-luxury cruise segment."

Seabourn Finalizes Contract with Fincantieri for New ShipThe configuration of the new, 40,350 GRT vessel will be based on the highly popular Seabourn Odyssey-class ships, with one additional deck and new expanded public areas. The ship will be built by Fincantieri S.p.A. in Italy, with delivery scheduled for mid-2016. It is expected to carry just 604 guests, based on double occupancy of the all-suite lower berths. The design will maintain Seabourn's high ratio of space per guest and enable highly personalized service by nearly one staff member per guest on board. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

"The new ship will continue the evolution that began with Seabourn's fleet expansion, adding modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance," said Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn's president. "With its delivery, the most highly rated cruise line in the world will also offer travelers the newest fleet of ships in the luxury segment."

The vessel will replace capacity that will be reduced when the company's Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit, and Seabourn Legend are transferred to new owners in April 2014, April 2015, and May 2015, respectively.

The contract with Fincantieri continues a longstanding relationship of more than two decades between Seabourn's parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc and the Italian shipbuilder.

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri's Chief executive officer, said: "An order from a new brand is always a source of great satisfaction. Today we can also add a note of pride, because the addition to our customer base of Seabourn, the Carnival Group's top-end cruise line, means that we are now building ships for all the operators in the ultra-luxury segment, a niche market that has seen strong investments in the past year". Bono continued: "This gratifying result, which gives us cause to be optimistic about the future, is the product of the cultural renewal being pursued with determination at every level of our business activity."

Lost Camera Returned to Owner After Traveling 1,200 Miles Across the Caribbean
When Captain Robert Webster, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Galveston, boarded the Carnival Magic to return a lost camera to its owner Nina Banks in Grand Cayman, it was the culmination of an incredible journey that began more than two years ago.

Lost Camera Returned to Owner After Traveling 1,200 Miles Across the CaribbeanWhile strolling along the shores of Galveston, Dr. Thomas Linton – a marine sciences professor at Texas A&M University at Galveston and Webster's advisor — came across an underwater camera and really didn't think too much about it. After removing the camera's memory card and developing the photos, Linton began a painstaking process of determining where the images were taken. The words "Grand Cayman" in one of photos provided Linton with a starting point to research the origin of the camera so he contacted Det. Rick McCullor from Galveston Police Department's forensics division to assist in tracking down the owner.

Linton and Webster theorized that the camera may have rested atop some Sargassum seaweed slicks and sailed all the way from Grand Cayman to Galveston Island. The camera's trail offered Linton a unique opportunity to study the weather and current patterns that allowed the camera to travel atop the seaweed some 1,200 miles from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico without dropping to the bottom. For years, Linton and other researchers have tracked Sargassum's movement by satellite imagery but the lost camera incident provided an authentic example of their movement and flow.

After more than two years, Captain Webster and his wife Bonnie boarded the Carnival Magic to return the lost camera to its original owner, Nina Banks, a longtime resident of Grand Cayman, completing an incredible and amazing adventure.

Thanks to the Texas A&M at Galveston team for sharing this unforgettable story and to the Carnival Magic team for facilitating the camera's return!

Crystal Cruises Adds Free Wi-Fi For Repeat Passengers
Crystal Cruises announces the newest perk to its All Inclusive luxury cruise experience: Free Wi-Fi for Crystal Society members, the line's "club" of repeat guests, beginning Fall 2014. Effective with Crystal Serenity's September 19 New England/Canada sailing and Crystal Symphony's October 15 Panama Canal cruise, each Crystal Society guest will receive 60 minutes of complimentary internet access for every day of the cruise. For example, a 10-day cruise will offer 600 free minutes per person (or 1,200 free minutes per couple), a 12-day cruise offers 720 free minutes per person (or 1,440 free minutes per couple), a 14-day cruise offer 840 free minutes (or 1,680 free minutes per couple), etc., which can be used any time throughout the voyage.

Crystal Cruises Adds Free Wi-FiSociety members can use the new complimentary access time wirelessly via iPad, iPhone, laptop or other wireless device or on Crystal's own Computer University@Sea 27" dual-compatible iMac computers. A multi-million dollar Wi-Fi upgrade rolled out in recent months helps guests enjoy maximum onboard connectivity.

"We are continually refining our all-inclusive experience to offer an array of choices for our global guests. Since the majority of our guests are repeaters, we opted to expand our Crystal Society offerings to thank our loyal patrons," said Edie Bornstein, Crystal's president. "Whether they are on board for a second 10-day getaway or on their 20th time for an expansive 108-day World Cruise, travelers today appreciate staying plugged in. By adding this coveted perk to our All Inclusive experience, repeat cruisers in all stateroom and suite categories have one more reason to choose Crystal as their home base while traveling the world in the finest of luxury and ease."

The company has spent more than a year planning and installing improvements to the onboard internet experience, including:
• Maximizing satellite bandwidth with the latest technology, allowing for more users and more content to stream simultaneously.
• Expansion of Wi-Fi signal range throughout the ships, making wireless connection available everywhere on board, including all staterooms, public spaces, and outdoor decks.
• The ability to access internet in areas that were previously unavailable, such as Japan.

All full revenue guests who have completed their first Crystal cruise automatically become Crystal Society members, and, thusly, can take advantage of this perk on all subsequent Crystal voyages. Guests wishing to purchase additional minutes for $.75 per minute can do so without an activation fee. Internet packages that reduce the per minute charge are also available.

CLIA's State of the Cruise Industry in 2014
As the cruise line industry continues to strengthen its global presence and with the economy in an ongoing recovery mode, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its cruise line members are looking forward to a positive year of growth with a 2014 passenger forecast of 21.7 million worldwide guests on CLIA's 63 member lines, according to data released today in the association's annual State of the Cruise Industry findings. To meet demand, these member lines will introduce 24 new ships in 2014-2015 adding a total passenger capacity of 37,546, representing a capital investment of approximately $8 billion in ocean going and river cruise categories.

CLIA's State of the Cruise Industry in 2014"The global cruise industry is at an exciting juncture with strong consumer interest in cruising and significant cruise line investment in a diversity of exciting ships that travel to the most exotic locations in the world and offer one-of-a-kind vacation experiences," said Christine Duffy, CLIA President & CEO.

Industry Growth - CLIA 2013 global passenger numbers are estimated at 21.3 million, with a 2014 forecast expected to reach 21.7 million passengers. North America is the world's biggest cruise market (55.1 percent passenger source share) – with significant growth of internationally sourced passengers – especially Europeans at 6.4 million.

Cruise Ship Deployment - The leading cruise destination in terms of ship deployments remains the Caribbean, accounting for 37.3 percent of all global itineraries followed by the Mediterranean (18.9%), Northern Europe (11.1%), Australia/New Zealand (5.9%), Alaska (4.5%), Asia (4.4%) and South America (3.3%).

In 2014, markets experiencing increased ship deployments include the Caribbean (+12%), Northern Europe (+5.2%), Asia (+31.6%) and Australasia at 22%.

New Ships - Globally, the 2014 CLIA fleet is comprised of 410 ships, up from 393 ships last year, and includes a wide variety of vessels – from large- to mid-sized to small and intimate. The fleet covers all line categories: contemporary, premium, niche and destination focused, river cruises, expedition and adventure. Additionally, in 2014 and 2015, CLIA lines will introduce 24 new ships, representing a total capital investment of approximately $8 billion. Twelve new CLIA ships (Confirmed Orders and Options) for 2016 to 2018 represent an additional 33,192 passenger capacity and an investment estimated at $7.9 billion in ship development.

Travel Agent Initiatives and Outlook - CLIA's 13,500 global travel agency members who reach over 50,000 agents are the primary distribution channel for cruise sales. In 2014, CLIA's agent initiatives will include continuing the redesign of its agent educational curriculum and agent certification programs to ensure that both education and certification remain highly relevant for today's agents. In addition, CLIA will actively promote CLIA certification to consumers, reminding them of the benefits and importance of working with a certified CLIA professional.

Highlights of a December 2013 survey of 500 CLIA agents showed positive indicators and optimism for 2014 customer cruise interest and sales, including:


• More than 60 percent of survey respondents say their 2013 overall travel sales ranged from good (steadily improving over the recent past) to excellent (their best year ever)
• 92 percent anticipate that their overall business in 2014 will be good or better than 2013
• More than 70 percent expect their cruise sales to range from good to excellent in 2014
• 87.7% reported similar or increased new cruiser sales

Cruise Industry Trends - Top 2014 cruise trends identified by CLIA, its member lines and travel agents include:


• Improved technology to lower the cost of onboard communications and provide more efficient passenger servicing
• First-time passenger growth coming from younger generation travelers – especially Millennials
• More luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) stimulated by an improving economy and increased consumer confidence
• Continued interest in multigenerational and celebration cruises as well as social/affinity group travel
• More all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities
• Exotic locations driving new itinerary competition and cruise ship deployment
• Hot destinations for 2014: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic River

HAL Crown's Inaugural ‘Dancing With The Stars: At Sea' Guest Champion
During the Jan. 12 Champions Cruise aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line crowned guest Allyse Ishino of Santa Ana, Calif. the line's first "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champion. Ishino, who represented ms Westerdam, triumphed over 14 other guest competitors to claim the title and take home the coveted Holland America Line's "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Mirror Ball Trophy.

HAL Extends Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Throughout 2014Ishino danced in the ship's main show lounge in three elimination performances before making it to the finals where she executed a passionate Tango in front of a judging panel that included "Dancing with the Stars" professional dancers Tristan MacManus, Kym Johnson and Sharna Burgess, dance troupe member Jaymz Tuaileva and Nieuw Amsterdam cruise director Eric Dowis.

"Congratulations to Allyse! We've been building up to the ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea' Champions Cruise all year and the 15 champions gave stunning performances that excited everyone onboard and impressed our judging panels of professional dancers," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. "All of the guest competitors put their heart and soul into each performance and they all deserve to be congratulated."

Before Ishino was named champion in the final round, three elimination rounds were held to whittle the 15 competitors to three finalists. Todd Greenquist of Scarborough, Maine, representing ms Amsterdam, and Kristin Capaldo of Cumberland, R.I., from ms Noordam, also advanced from the early rounds to dance in the final evening's competition.

The 15 Champions Cruise competitors represented each of the ships in the Holland America Line fleet. They were selected as the winning guests with the highest overall score from their ship's "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" dance competitions that were held onboard every cruise throughout the past year.

Joining the Champions Cruise to perform in a special production show were "Dancing with the Stars" professional dancers: Emmy Award–winner and five-time "Dancing with the Stars" champion Derek Hough, two-time winner Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater and Tristan MacManus. Celebrities who performed included actress Sabrina Bryan, singer Joey Fatone and television personality Carson Kressley.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 41.36 - 0.14%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 49.56 + 1.64%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.14 - 5.71%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.54 + 4.88%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What year was the last four stacker liner removed from service and what was the name of the ship?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - The ship had been previously owned by Canadian Pacific, and Carnival short on money only slightly altered the Canadian Pacific funnel logo.
courtesy of B. A. McKenzie


Cruise News - January 13, 2014

Norwegian Epic to Homeport in Europe Year-Round in 2015
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that Norwegian Epic will home port year-round in Barcelona, Spain starting April 30, 2015. The 4,100 passenger, Norwegian Epic will be the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship to ever home port in Europe year-round.

Norwegian Epic to Homeport in Europe Year-Round in 2015"We are excited to announce that our largest ship, Norwegian Epic, will homeport in Europe year-round in 2015," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "Norwegian Epic's innovative accommodations, world-class entertainment and plethora of dining options are the perfect complement to the European cruise market, one of the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world."

Throughout 2015, Norwegian Epic will offer a variety of exciting European itineraries offering guests the opportunity to experience why Norwegian was named "Europe's Leading Cruise Line" six years in a row by the World Travel Awards. In addition, guests on board Norwegian Epic can experience the best of Freestyle Cruising, which gives guests more choices in dining, accommodations, and world-class entertainment, in a relaxed atmosphere. Freestyle Cruising also gives guests cruising through Europe the flexibility to stay ashore longer giving them more time to explore all that Europe has to offer.

While cruising throughout Europe, guests can discover why Norwegian Epic was named "Best Ship for Sea Days in 2012" by Cruise Critic, as they experience the ship's array of recreational activities from the expansive Aqua Park, featuring three waterslides and the largest bowl slide on water, the Epic Plunge, to the rappelling wall, rock climbing wall, bowling alley, and pampering Mandara Spa, one of the largest spas at sea.

Foodies cruising through Europe on board Norwegian Epic will delight in the ship's 20 different dining options. Steak lovers can feast on steakhouse favorites, including Certified Angus Beef in Cagney's, the line's signature steakhouse. Moderno Churrascaria, Norwegian's Brazilian-style steakhouse offers guests the opportunity to sample succulent grilled and slow-roasted meats carved tableside by passadors in addition to Moderno's expansive salad bar. Norwegian Epic's Chinese Noodle Bar offers counter seating around an open kitchen and serves traditional Chinese noodles, wok-fried dishes and dim sum. For American Favorites and comfort food, guests can take a seat in O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill. Additional dining options include Teppanyaki, a Japanese hibachi-style restaurant; Sushi Bar; Garden Café, the ship's action station buffet-style restaurant; The Manhattan Room, an art deco inspired supper club; La Cucina, Norwegian's home style Italian restaurant; Le Bistro, Norwegian's signature French restaurant; and more. Norwegian Epic also boasts 20 unique bars and lounges, including the SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar, which was the first-ever true ice bar at sea.

When it comes to accommodations, Norwegian Epic offers a range of innovative accommodations options to suit every taste and budget. For guests looking for the ultimate in luxury, the ship features The Haven by Norwegian, Norwegian's exclusive ship-within-a-ship suite complex comprised of 60 suites and villas on two private decks located on top of the ship. Norwegian Epic was the first ship to offer the award-winning Studio staterooms designed and priced exclusively for solo travelers, giving guests the opportunity to cruise solo throughout Europe. Plus, Norwegian Epic also offers a wide variety of comfortable balcony and inside stateroom options and family-friendly accommodations including multi-room Suites, interconnecting staterooms and two-bedroom Family Suites. Norwegian Epic's 2015 European Itineraries are scheduled to be announced mid-March.

Princess Launches Its Most Extensive Marketing Campaign Ever
As the new year begins, Princess Cruises is launching a fresh advertising campaign to remind travelers that cruising can transform and enrich their lives, and set the line's cruise vacations apart as an opportunity for passengers to "come back new." The $20 million program will be the company's most extensive ever, and marks a return to television and radio advertising for the brand, which has not taken to the airwaves for more than a decade.

Princess Launches Its Most Extensive Marketing Campaign EverThe new campaign, which debuts today, is aimed at those consumers who the cruise line's research has uncovered as "meaningful travelers" – those who value experiences over things, and desire enriching and transformative vacation experiences. The ads feature people cruising with Princess who experience memorable moments onboard while connecting with nature, cultures and loved ones in a different way, and "come back new."

The new TV spots will launch during the Critics' Choice Movie Awards® Red Carpet Show airing on the CW network January 16.

Created by award-winning agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, the spots will air both online and on major television networks including CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, plus many top cable networks and shows. They will be complemented by a series of dramatic print ads that evoke the enriching possibilities of Princess' worldwide cruise destinations, which will appear in national and regional magazines. Radio and digital advertising will round out the campaign.

"This new campaign is an exciting opportunity for us to differentiate Princess Cruises in the minds of travelers," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "After extensive research, we identified a growing segment of people who want their vacations to transform them with new perspectives, new friendships and new stories. They are increasingly looking to discover new places, learn about other cultures, try new foods from the places they're visiting, and gain inspiration from the world they don't see every day. They want to 'come back new,' and our new campaign shows that Princess is the best cruise line to deliver this to them."

The new television spots focus on personal experiences at sea, with beautiful photography to capture the idea that "a moment can transform you forever." Ads take viewers along as a father lovingly carries his happily exhausted daughter along the Promenade Deck, creating a lifetime memory. Other ads show couples who discover the true value of time together, and how a wonderful day exploring Italy can inspire a surprising twist from the expected.

"Our new advertising theme really captures the essence of our brand promise to our passengers," Swartz continued. "The ads were actually inspired by our passengers' stories about how they return from their cruise vacation feeling rejuvenated and more closely connected with their loved ones, and with fresh perspectives stimulated by the beauty of the ocean, of the world and other cultures they visited, and their onboard experiences."

The print ads explore a variety of cruise destinations, cultures and experiences that can lead passengers to "come back new." Focusing initially on Alaska and Caribbean cruises, the ads capture the transformative moments of exploration. The ads will appear in a variety of outlets, including Travel & Leisure, Food and Wine, Sunset and National Geographic Traveler. Radio spots that continue the "come back new" theme will air in major markets around the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, and Miami. The new ads and other campaign materials will roll out through the month of January.

The new broadcast spots are available at princess.com/come-back-new.

The new campaign was created by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, an award-winning advertising agency based in San Francisco. The campaign executive creative director is Rich Silverstein, and the co-creative directors are Kate Catalinac and Damian Fitzgerald.

Meyer Werft Delivers Norwegian Getaway
Today during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 145,655 gross ton cruise ship Norwegian Getaway from MEYER WERFT after a building period of only 15 months. The ship, the second of two Breakaway Class ships, is being delivered just nine months after the launch of sister-ship Norwegian Breakaway. Following delivery today, the ship is sailing to Rotterdam for the start of inaugural festivities which will continue in Southampton before the ship departs for her transatlantic cruise to New York. The ship will be christened in Miami on February 7.

Meyer Werft Delivers Norwegian Getaway"The team at MEYER WERFT, along with our new build team, operations teams, and all of the ship's officers and crew have done an amazing job on Norwegian Getaway and we are thrilled with how spectacular the ship looks," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "Norwegian Breakaway revolutionized cruising with its Waterfront and strong connection to New York. Norwegian Getaway will do the same as Miami's ultimate ship, offering the only way to cruise the Caribbean from Miami with a plethora of incredible features."

"We are more than thrilled to deliver the second Breakaway class vessel to Norwegian Cruise Line ahead of her original schedule," said Bernard Meyer, managing partner with MEYER WERFT. "Norwegian Getaway is the newest and most advanced cruise vessel on the seas and we are proud of the team that worked diligently to design and build her."

The latest engine technology, the pod drive system, improved hydrodynamics as well as effective energy saving, heat recovery and ballast water treatment guarantee an ecological cruise experience at significantly reduced operating costs.

Main Particulars
Dimension 145.655 GT
Length overall 325,70 m
Moulded breadth 39,7 m
Number of decks 18
Draught 8,30 m
Engine output 62.400 kW in total
Propulsion power 35.000 kW
Speed 21,5 kn
Number of passengers 3,969
Number of passenger cabins 2,014
Number of outside cabins (including suites) 1,508
Number of inside cabins 506
Crew ca. 1.640
Number of theatre seats 815
Number of dining options 27
Total weight of applied paint ca. 300 t
Total length of laid cables 2.154 km
Total length of laid pipes ca. 400 km
Flag Bahamas
Classification DNV

Carnival Launches New Shore Excursion Best Price Guarantee
Guests sailing on a Carnival cruise who book a shore excursion through the cruise line can be completely confident they are getting the best price and best value with the introduction of a new shore excursion best price guarantee. The only guarantee of its kind in the cruise industry, the program is now available fleetwide for all Carnival Cruise Lines shore tours on ships sailing from North America.

Carnival Launches New Shore Excursion Best Price GuaranteeUnder the best price guarantee, guests who find the same tour offered by another operator at a lower price than their booked excursion either before or during their cruise can complete a claim form to receive 110 percent of the difference in the form of a shipboard credit.

The guarantee is available for excursions booked prior to or during a cruise. If guests pre-book an excursion, then find a comparable tour advertised online at a lower price, they can complete an online form up to seven days prior to the cruise to invoke the guarantee. Guests can also complete a form during the cruise either before or after their excursion has taken place. Claims are typically processed within 24-48 hours.

"Many of our repeat guests who have booked Carnival shore tours previously are already knowledgeable on the outstanding value our tours provide," said Mico Cascais, vice president of tour operations for Carnival Cruise Lines. "However, our research indicates that many others, particularly first-time cruisers, are interested yet concerned as to whether or not they are getting the best deal. The best price guarantee program will assure our guests they are getting both the highest quality and the best value on all of our tours," he added.

Guests who book their excursion through Carnival enjoy the convenience of having shore excursion tickets delivered to their stateroom, 24/7 access to shipboard staff to answer questions and obtain assistance, and an assurance that they will receive a refund or the excursion time will be adjusted as needed based on weather or other issues affecting a ship's scheduled port of call visit. Additionally, ongoing communication between tour operators and shipboard staff ensures that the cruise line is aware and can make necessary changes to a ship's departure time when a tour is running late or unexpected circumstances arise.

The online and onboard claim forms require guests to provide the name of the competitor offering the comparable tour, excursion name, where the tour was advertised and the duration, price and any items included in the tour such as lunch, drinks, transportation or admission fees.

The best price guarantee is applicable to shore excursion matches on the same date as the tour purchased from Carnival.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 41.42 + 5.58%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 48.76 + 5.63%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.33 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 34.84 + 2.59%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - NCL bought the France for 18M USD in 1979.
courtesy of Jonas Ekstam, Stockholm


Cruise News - January 6, 2014

Queen Mary 2 Celebrates Her First Ten Years
Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 will celebrate her first ten years of service in 2014. Since her naming by Her Majesty The Queen on 8 January 2004, Queen Mary 2 has undertaken a total of 419 voyages, including over 200 Transatlantic Crossings, and has called at 182 ports in 60 countries.

Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 will celebrate her first ten years of service in 2014."Since entering service in 2004, Queen Mary 2 has reigned supreme on the Atlantic and around the world, proudly carrying more than a million guests," said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line. "She has attracted awards, accolades and admiration as the greatest ocean liner ever built for a decade now and we intend to mark her first ten years of service in style."

Since becoming Cunard flagship on completion of her maiden Transatlantic Crossing in May 2004, Queen Mary 2 has remained unchallenged as the world's largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built and the most famous and fastest passenger ship in operation today.

At 1,132 feet in length, if stood on her stern, Queen Mary 2 would be taller than New York's Empire State Building and more than three times the height of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Her 151,400 gross tonnage is the equivalent of nearly 19,000 London buses, and she boasts over four times as many rooms as the Dorchester Hotel. She took a million hours to design and eight million hours to build, and the 1,000 miles of welding that holds this amazing liner together would stretch from London to Moscow.

In her first ten years of service, Queen Mary 2 has sailed the equivalent of three times to the moon and back, carrying more than 1.3 million guests, enough to fill Westminster Abbey 651 times. In addition, more than 2,000 dogs have travelled on Queen Mary 2, five times as many as in the UK's famous Battersea Dogs Home.

Looking after the guests on board Queen Mary 2 is what Cunard does best, and over the past decade the crew have served over 58 million meals, sufficient to feed the combined population of Hong Kong, Sydney, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and Dubai for an entire weekend. The 21.9 million cups of tea served on board to date would fill an Olympic swimming pool three times over. If the 2.7 million scones baked on board were stacked on top of each other, they'd reach 80 miles in height.

Cunard's passengers have enjoyed almost 8,000 guest lectures, the equivalent of nearly a year's continuous radio broadcast. And they love to celebrate on board, too: the one and a quarter million bottles of champagne consumed since Queen Mary 2's launch would be enough to fill 200 world-record-breaking, 23-foot-high champagne waterfalls.

Queen Mary 2 will depart on her tenth World Cruise on 10 January 2014 when she and Queen Elizabeth sail together from Southampton after a fusillade of celebratory fireworks. The major 10th Anniversary celebrations will begin on 9 May 2014 when all three ships of the Cunard fleet will arrive together in their homeport of Southampton and sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will salute the flagship's first ten years. The day will feature special sail-pasts, a celebratory lunch and a spectacular send-off of fireworks as all three ships set sail together from Southampton that evening, with Queen Mary 2 leading the way. Further details about the day's events planned will be forthcoming soon.

That day, 9 May 2014, Queen Mary 2 will set out on the first of two special commemorative Crossings to and then from New York that underline her role as the only passenger ship in the world maintaining a scheduled service across the Atlantic, something a Cunard ship has done since 1840.

Taking part in Cunard's acclaimed Insights speaker programme during the 9 May 2014 Crossing to New York will be two special speakers: Commodore Ron Warwick, who holds the distinction of being the first Master of Queen Mary 2, and Stephen Payne OBE, who was largely responsible for the overall design of the ship. In their separate talks, they will present fascinating insights into the operation and construction of the world's grandest ocean liner.

Both Commodore Warwick and Payne will be guests of honour at a gala evening on board which will include a commemorative dinner with a special menu. In addition, vocalist/tenor Ben Makisi (billed as "The Voice of the South Pacific"), magician Philip Hitchcock and violin duo "Elektra" will thrill passengers on board for the Crossing.

Both the Commodore and Stephen Payne will sail from New York to Southampton with Queen Mary 2 on the 16 May 2014 Crossing, and will be joined by comedian Roy Walker as part of the entertainment line-up.

Grand Princess Crew Member Goes Overboard
Grand Princess Crew Member Goes OverboardA 34-year old Filipino crew member from Princess Cruises' Grand Princess reportedly jumped overboard while the ship was sailing from San Francisco to Hawaii on Monday. The U.S. Coast Guard was contacted by the ship's crew shortly after midnight and dispatched a HC-130 Hercules airplane to help coordinate a search for the missing man in an area located about 1,100 miles northeast of Hilo, HI,

According to Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson, Grand Princess remained in the area to look for the missing man, and sister ship Star Princess was diverted to assist in the search. Rescue efforts are also being coordinated with container ship Horizon Reliance through the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, a computer-based global ship reporting system used to coordinate search efforts at sea.

According to Princess, the crew member was last seen onboard Grand Princess at 10:25 p.m. Monday and a review of video captured by a a surveillance camera on the ship showed the man intentionally going overboard.

Grand Princess is on a 15-day round trip cruise to Hawaii from San Francisco and is carrying 2,607 passengers and 1,088 crew members.

Carnival Partners With Sunscreen Company
Ocean Potion sunscreen will set sail, literally, for the first time ever when it partners in early 2014 with Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator. Beach-tested and approved Ocean Potion is made in the USA by Cocoa, Florida-based Sun & Skin Care Research, LLC (SSCR).

Ocean Potion sunscreen will set sail, literally, for the first time ever when it partners in early 2014 with Carnival Cruise LinesThe experiential marketing partnership represents the first time Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines joins forces with a sun care company to create an onboard promotional experience with a branded sunscreen.

Onboard promotions and activities will include fun, playful sun care-related messaging and will amp up the excitement around the already spirited Carnival guests through sponsored deck activities, all while boosting awareness of the Ocean Potion brand.  The new partnership will include the following components:

• Sun-Lovers' Trivia — Fun messages on the Seaside Theatre poolside LED screens on sea days, as well as Ocean Potion samples available at nearby towel huts.

• Carnival entertainment staff will engage with guests as they are enjoying "Your Fun Moments in the Sun," with photos showcased on the Seaside Theater screen leading up to the Ocean Potion-sponsored deck activity, the “Don’t Fry. Reapply!” sunscreen break.

• A fun and engaging entertainment activity at select ports that will build on Ocean Potion’s legacy of sandcastle-building beach events which are designed as fun for the whole family.

• Guest giveaways, including co-branded T-shirts, carry-alls, and can “koozies.”

• Samples of Ocean Potion’s popular SPF 30 general protection sunscreen will be distributed to guests as they head into port as well as at Carnival outdoor decks via towel huts at the main pool areas — the most relevant spaces —  since the sun’s rays are amplified by water, making superior sun protection all the more important.

Four Carnival ships will participate in the initial promotion: Carnival Breeze from Miami; Carnival Liberty from Miami and Port Canaveral; Carnival Sunshine from New Orleans and Port Canaveral; and Carnival Triumph from Galveston.  The promotion will kick off aboard Carnival Breeze January 12, 2014. Guests will try Ocean Potion at onboard sampling stations via gallon pump containers and more than 90,000 individual samples of Ocean Potion will be distributed on the four Carnival ships.  

Since its creation, the Ocean Potion line has pioneered ingredient innovation and new product innovations will be announced in 2014. In a happy bit of synchronicity for a product that is taking to the seas, sea botanicals are key Ocean Potion ingredients, as are antioxidants that replenish skin depleted by a day in the sun. Ocean Potion products incorporate broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, from SPF 15 to 70.

Non-greasy, rapidly absorbed, and with a great orange-cream fragrance, Ocean Potion is fortified with Vitamin D3 — indispensable for skin health and a youthful appearance. The skin, the body’s largest organ, is the last organ to absorb Vitamin D from food or supplements. Applied topically, however, Vitamin D3 delivers benefits directly to the skin. Notably, the brand is among those products expressly recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for "safe and effective sun protection."

Disney Cruise Ships Bring Economic Boost to Central Florida
Starting today, three of Disney Cruise Line's ships are homeporting in Port Canaveral for the first time in the history of the cruise line. The Disney Magic returns to Port Canaveral to join the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy through mid-May, which not only brings more options for guests but also brings a sizeable economic benefit to the entire Central Florida region.

Disney Magic returns to Port Canaveral to join the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy through mid-MayAccording to a study by Martin Associates, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based firm that conducts economic research for many of the nation's ports and cruise lines, the addition of a third ship in Brevard for the first part of 2014 creates about 1,000 new jobs in the region and boosts the local economy by an additional $100 million.

The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy homeporting in Port Canaveral already generates more than 4,000 jobs in Central Florida and contributes more than $450 million to the local economy. With the Disney Wonder currently sailing from Miami, this marks the first time the entire Disney fleet of four ships is sailing from Florida ports. A similar schedule is planned for the early part of 2015.

"We're thrilled to welcome the Disney Magic home to Port Canaveral, joining the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, for the beginning 2014 and again for the first part of 2015," said Anthony Connelly. Sr. Vice President, Operations, Disney Cruise Line. "This not only creates a sizeable economic impact to the Central Florida region, but it also gives our guests more options to sail to Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, and more options to create a land and sea vacation of a lifetime with the Walt Disney World Resort only an hour drive away."

HAL Announces Guest Competitors on the ‘Dancing With The Stars: At Sea' Champions Cruise
Holland America Line has announced the 15 winning guest finalists who will compete on the "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champions Cruise Jan. 12, 2014, aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam. Each winner will represent one of the 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet and was selected as the winning guest with the highest overall score from the onboard "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" dance competitions that were held onboard throughout the past year.

HAL Extends Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Throughout 2014The 15 guests and their professional shipboard dance partners will perform and compete in the main show lounge for guests, as well as the dance pros and celebrities from the hit ABC television show "Dancing with the Stars," who will be onboard the Champions Cruise. The winning couple will walk away with the coveted Holland America Line's "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Mirror Ball Trophy" and title of Holland America Line's first "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champion.

"These guests wowed our guests and judges to win the dance competitions on their respective cruises this year, and we're excited to see the best of the best compete to become Holland America Line's first ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea' champion," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. "Our ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea' programming has been wildly popular and a highlight of our cruises, and the Champions Cruise is an exciting way to celebrate our first year of the program."

The winning guest competitors from throughout the year who will compete on the "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champions Cruise on Jan. 12, 2014 are:


• Todd Greenquist of Scarborough, Maine, representing ms Amsterdam.
• Austin Tran of San Jose, Calif., representing ms Eurodam.
• Dorothy Hobart of East Amherst, N.Y., representing ms Maasdam.
• Randy Estoesta of San Luis Obispo, Calif., representing ms Nieuw Amsterdam.
• Kristin Capaldo of Cumberland, R.I., representing ms Noordam. vJose Javier Omar Angeles of Frisco, Texas, representing ms Oosterdam.
• Julie Hurt of Chicago, Ill., representing ms Prinsendam.
• Charles Simonds of San Rafael, Calif., representing ms Rotterdam.
• Jennifer Scott of Boca Raton, Fla., representing ms Ryndam.
• Daniel Honig of Philadelphia, Penn., representing ms Statendam.
• Trudy Morris of New Orleans, La., representing ms Veendam.
• Joyce Dolan of Indian Shores, Fla., representing ms Volendam.
• Allyse Ishino of Santa Ana, Calif., representing ms Westerdam.
• Agnes Roux of Las Vegas, Nev., representing ms Zaandam.
• Mimi Chan of Orlando, Fla., representing ms Zuiderdam.

Joining the Champions Cruise to perform in a special production show are Emmy Award–winner and five-time "Dancing with the Stars" champion Derek Hough, two-time winner Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater and Tristan MacManus. Celebrities set to perform include actress Sabrina Bryan, singer Joey Fatone and television personality Carson Kressley.

The "Dancing with the Stars" talent will dazzle the audience with dance numbers from the television series performed in the main show lounge. Additional events on the cruise include a special fashion show featuring the glamorous show costumes and a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, ask questions and take photos with them.

The Jan. 12 Champions Cruise visits the western Caribbean with calls at Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private island; George Town, Grand Cayman, and Key West, Fla.

Holland America Line has extended its partnership with "Dancing with the Stars," and will feature the shipboard program through the 2014 sailing season, culminating with a Champions Cruise guest dance-off competition on the Dec. 6, 2014, Caribbean sailing of ms Westerdam.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.23 - 2.27%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 46.16 - 2.43%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.33 + 0.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 33.96 - 3.66%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which cruise ship was the first ship to be so large that she could not fit through the Panama Canal?

Answer - The Carnival Destiny was the first cruise ship too large to fit through the Panama Canal. (Note: NCL's Norway was also too large to fit through the Panama Canal but she started life as an ocean liner).
courtesy of Robert Cook, Seattle, WA

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
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Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
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Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
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